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عنوان مقاله [English]
What is the relationship between criminal law and political authority? On one hand, all criminal laws are passed by political authority and their validity apparently depends on this fact. On the other hand, when punishment theorists attempt to justify punishment, they usually try to prove moral obscenity or harmfulness of the criminal act and the offender’s guilt. In the first part of this paper, we define political authority and consider its characteristic features. Thereafter, in the second part, we will try to prove that political authority cannot be established without punishment. In the final part, we argue that punishment cannot be justified regardless of political authority. Hence, as a result of a philosophical analysis of these concepts, it can be concluded that Punishment theory, in contrast to prevalent retributivist theories, is a part of political theory, not a part of moral theory. Therefore, any attempt to justify punishment depends on justifying political authority and is an integral part of political theory.