UCL Faculty of Laws


Legal Philosophy Forum: A Hope Standard for Punishment

06 November 2019, 11:00 am–1:00 pm


This event is part of the UCL Legal Philosophy Forum

Event Information

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Moot Court
Bentham House
United Kingdom

Speaker: Professor Kimberley Brownlee (University of Warwick)


Each year, hundreds of people living in high-income countries take their own lives while they are in prison. Thousands of people engage in self-harm and thousands abuse other prisoners. Such behaviours often correlate with mental health problems. But, they are also often pleas for help and for hope. This paper considers what role hope should play in our practices of lawful punishment. The paper argues that one standard that a mode of punishment must meet to be legitimate and morally justifiable is that it be compatible with a reasonable person retaining hope for his future after punishment

About the Speaker

Kimberley Brownlee is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. Her areas of expertise lie within moral, political, and legal philosophy. Before joining the University of Warwick in 2012, she was a Senior Lecturer in Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Manchester. She has been a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Philosophy Department at Vanderbilt University (2008); an HLA Hart Visiting Research Fellow at University College, Oxford (2009); a CEPPA Visiting Research Fellow in the Philosophy Department at St Andrews University (2009); a Visiting Scholar in the UCLA Law School (2012); a Warwick-Monash Visiting Fellow at Monash University (2015), and a Visiting Lecturer at Duke University (2016). She has received an AHRC Networks and Workshops Grant (2008), an AHRC Research Leave Award (2009), a Philip Leverhulme Prize (2012), an Independent Social Research Foundation fellowship (2014), and a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (2017).

Kimberley is the author of Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience, published by Oxford University Press (2012). She is also the co-editor the Blackwell Companion to Applied Philosophy (Wiley 2016), and co-editor of Disability and Disadvantage, published by Oxford University Press (2009). Her articles have appeared in Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Ethics, Law and Philosophy, Utilitas, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Criminal Law and Philosophy, and Res Publica. She is the author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on civil disobedience.

Her current work focuses on the ethics of sociability, social rights, human rights, and freedom of association. Her recent work focused on conscience and conscientious disobedience, ideals and virtue, philosophy of punishment, and restorative justice.

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