Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics (MA)


Philosophy and Religious Studies

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Buchwalter

Second Advisor

Dr. Mitchell Haney

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. Hans-Herbert Koegler

Department Chair

Dr. Andrew Buchwalter

College Dean

George Rainbolt


Jacksonville is nationally recognized as being a city that disproportionately places defendants on death row. The author, who has been both a prosecutor and an appellate attorney representing inmates on death row in Jacksonville, believes that the high number of death sentences being issued in this city, at the recommendation of juries, is driven by a strong retributive intuition held by a significant part of Jacksonville’s society. This thesis evaluates the views of three philosophers who played influential roles in the resurgence of retributive theory in the latter half of the twentieth century in America, in seeking to identify and then criticize, in a manner that would be persuasive to a layperson, a defense of pure retributive justice. However, the author found that each of these three philosophers either waivered in maintaining the robust version of retributivism which they claimed to defend, or they attempted to defend that position in a manner that would be uncompelling for this hypothetical layperson juror.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 28, 2026