Duus-Otterström, Göran | 2019
in Tonry, M. (ed.) Of One-eyed and Toothless Miscreants: Making the Punishment Fit the Crime? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Conflicts between relative and absolute proportionality are an important puzzle facing retributivist thought. The question of how those conflicts should be handled has long been neglected. Relative proportionality refers to the ideal that punishments should be comparatively fair among offenders. Absolute proportionality refers to the ideal that punishments should be fitting, that is, neither too harsh nor too lenient. The two senses of proportionality contribute independently to the ideal of proportionality. Thus, it is not plausible to resolve conflicts between them by dropping one of them. Instead, the two senses of proportionality must be weighed. Recent literature about comparative and noncomparative desert provides some guidance for how the two types of proportionality should be weighed. If the two types of proportionality are of roughly equal moral weight, then our greater ability to reliably satisfy relative proportionality gives us some reason to give priority to relative proportionality.