CFP: The Abolition of Punishment: Is a Non-Punitive Criminal Justice System Ethically Justified? - Diametros (Special Issue)

Submission deadline: March 31, 2023

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Call for papers

Diametros welcomes contributions for a special issue on


Initial deadline for submissions: 31 December 2022

Extended Deadline: 31 March 2023

The expected date of publication of the special issue: October - December 2023

Guest editor: Przemysław Zawadzki


Legal punishment involves the intentional infliction of harm and suffering. The state typically defends its citizens against such mistreatment. Thus, it is widely accepted that legal punishment requires both moral and political justification. Philosophers have therefore studied ‘the justifications of punishment’ to explain why the state can intentionally harm its citizens when they commit criminal offences.Historically, the justifications of punishment have tended to fall into one of the two main camps. Consequentialists justify punishment instrumentally, in virtue of some valuable end, such as crime reduction, that punishment supposedly allows achieving. Retributivists justify punishment on the grounds that it is an intrinsically appropriate, because deserved, response to crime. However, both of the leading justifications of punishment face a number of moral concerns, and the effectiveness of current criminal punishment methods in ensuring society's safety and reducing crime is seriously undermined by empirical research. In this situation, it seems a moral imperative for a modern and humane society to seek alternative means of administering justice. This special issue aims to publish high-quality theoretical papers that propose and analyze non-punitive approaches to addressing criminal behavior. We are primarily interested in whether a non-punitive approach—one that does not consist in intentionally inflicting suffering on offenders—is (can be) ethically justified and practically feasible. We welcome theoretical papers addressing (but not limited to) the following topics:

•            Are there good reasons (philosophical or practical) for abandoning legal punishment?

•            Can non-punitive approaches to addressing criminal behavior effectively prevent convicted offenders from re-offending and the general public from committing crimes?

•            Can the wider society and crime victims accept practices of dealing with criminal behavior that does not appeal to retributive sentiments?

•            Can a non-punitive approach do justice to crime victims? 

•            What specific non-punitive programs could be introduced to reduce (re)offending?

•            Are legal assumptions concerning free will and retribution conceptually coherent? Are they justified?

•            Are there compelling reasons (ethical or empirical) against introducing a non-punitive approach?

Researchers addressing these issues from different perspectives are welcome. We invite legal theorists, criminologists, psychologists, philosophers and ethicists to contribute to this important discussion.

Formal requirements

Papers should be submitted for double-blind peer review via the journal's online platform: Before submitting your paper, please read our instructions for authors carefully:

The submitted essays should: * be in English; * present original research; * have not been published previously; * not exceed 40,000 characters in length (inclusive of spaces, footnotes and the bibliography); * fulfill the other submission criteria for the Diametros journal. In assessing the essays, priority will be given to originality, their potential for advancing discussion, and clarity of expression. Submissions are invited from researchers at every stage in their career (including postgraduate students enrolled on PhD programs).


Diametros - An Online Journal of Philosophy

Publisher: Jagiellonian University, Institute of Philosophy, Grodzka 52, 31-044 Krakow, Poland

Editor-in-Chief: Włodzimierz Galewicz

ISSN: 1733-5566

Start year: 2004; Frequency: quarterly

Indexing: Web of Science, Scopus, CEEOL, CEJSH, ProQuest, EBSCO, DOAJ, ERIH+, BazHum, Philosopher's Index.

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