Justice Through Apologies: Remorse, Reform, and Punishment

Justice Through Apologies: Remorse, Reform, and Punishment

By: Nick Smith (author)Paperback

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In this follow up to I Was Wrong: The Meanings of Apologies, Nick Smith expands his ambitious theories of categorical apologies to civil and criminal law. After rejecting court-ordered apologies as unjustifiable humiliation, this book explains that penitentiaries were originally designed to bring about penance - something like apology - and that this tradition has been lost in the assembly line of mass incarceration. Smith argues that the state should modernize these principles and techniques to reduce punishments for offenders who demonstrate moral transformation through apologizing. Smith also explains the counterintuitive situation whereby apologies come to have considerable financial worth in civil cases because victims associate them with priceless matters of the soul. Such confusions allow powerful wrongdoers to manipulate perceptions to disastrous effect, such as when corporations or governments assert that apologies do not equate to accepting blame or require reform or redress.

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About Author

Nick Smith is an Associate Professor of philosophy at the University of New Hampshire. Formerly a litigator and a clerk for the US Court of Appeals, he specializes in the philosophy of law, politics and society. Smith is the author of I Was Wrong: The Meanings of Apologies. He regularly appears in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Guardian UK, Fortune, NPR, BBC, CBC, CNN, and others.


1. Categorical apologies revisited; Part I. The Penitent and the Penitentiary: Apologies in Criminal Law: 2. Against court ordered apologies; 3. Apology reductions in criminal law; Part II. Apologies in Civil Law: 4. The institutional framework: economic outcomes and non-economic values; 5. A practical framework for evaluating apologies in civil contexts.

Product Details

  • publication date: 24/03/2014
  • ISBN13: 9780521189453
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 413
  • ID: 9780521189453
  • weight: 570
  • ISBN10: 0521189454

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