The question of whether it is suitable to inflict punishment, and if so, to what degree, arises in all areas of legal inquiry, and beyond them, most notably in religion, philosophy and social science. Punishment is generally defined as a painful or unpleasant consequence imposed on an offender for a breach of a legal rule. A central feature of any concept of punishment is some form of identification of punishment with legitimate authority. Without this we are left with little more than private, random and retributive violence. Such legitimacy may rest upon various grounds amongst which a legal basis is of outstanding importance and may, substantively, take many forms. Legitimation in general and, more specifically, the legitimation of punishment are issues rooted in the historically most remote areas of intellectual inquiry; essentially the religious and philosophical struggles to give meaning to the potentially meaningless round of human existence. The file for this record represents only a sample chapter from the whole work, which is available for purchase from the publisher.
CHRISTIE, S. 2001. Inchoate crimes: incitement, conspiracy and attempts in Scottish criminal law. Edinburgh: W. Green.