Kant’s Criminal Wisdom. A Critical Reconstruction

Maximiliano Hernández Marcos

Kant’s criminal theory has been challenged for its supposed strict and abstract retributivism, which distances itself from the predominantly utilitarian views of Enlightenment. This negative perception is exclusively founded on fragment E of Remark added to &49 of The Metaphysics of Morals. Th is study proves, however, that Kant had a more complex criminal theory, not explicitly stated, but which can be reconstructed especially through his posthumous legacy. In particular, we highlight Kant’s understanding of retribution, as a responsibility of the State, in terms of “criminal wisdom”; in other words, as a public praxis that should combine criminal justice and prudence in accordance with the primacy of moral values over politics.


Keywords: Criminal Law · Kant · Enlightenment · Hegel · retributive justice · political prudence

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