Graduation Year



First Place, 2016-2017 Best Gateway Essay Contest

Gateway Professor: Mark Criley, Department of Philosophy


In The Paradox of Punishment, Alan Goldman argues that the mixed theory of punishment is inherently contradictory. Goldman explains that the mixed theory is a combination of two older theories of punishment: retributivism and utilitarianism. The combination of these two theories into a single mixed theory was intended to mitigate these theories’ flaws. However, Goldman asserts that the two theories are incompatible, as justification of one requires dismissal of the other, creating a paradox. While I agree that Goldman’s paradox exists, and that it is logically inescapable, I believe he has neglected several points of analysis which weaken the impact of the paradox. In the following pages, I will provide an explanation of Goldman’s paradox and set forth some criticisms.


English Language and Literature | Rhetoric and Composition