2.36 Crime and Punishment

Category: Ethics/Social and Political

Keywords: forgiveness, crime, criminal, punishment, punish, court, guilty, legal, hart, liability, guilt, dworkin, judges, supreme, trial

Number of Articles: 384
Percentage of Total: 1.2%
Rank: 37th

Weighted Number of Articles: 252.3
Percentage of Total: 0.8%
Rank: 66th

Mean Publication Year: 1973.8
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1974.3
Median Publication Year: 1973
Modal Publication Year: 1974

Topic with Most Overlap: Ordinary Language (0.0565)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: War (0.0192)
Topic with Least Overlap: Space and Time (3e-04)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Wide Content (5e-05)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the crime and punishmenttopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1974 when 2.7% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1881 when 0.0% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.36 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.88: Crime and punishment.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Crime and Punishmenttopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.4%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.6%. Ethics - 3.3%. Philosophical Review - 0.4%. Analysis - 0.6%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 5.5%. Journal of Philosophy - 0.5%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 0.4%. Philosophy of Science - 0.1%. Noûs - 0.4%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 1.2%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 0.1%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1974 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 3.1% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1881 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.0% of the articles.

Figure 2.89: Crime and punishment articles in each journal.

Table 2.77: Characteristic articles of the crime and punishment topic.
Table 2.78: Highly cited articles in the crime and punishment topic.


The bulk of this topic is issues about punishment. And it’s striking just how little coverage this gets in the “generalist” journals. This particular gap wasn’t the reason that I included Ethics and Philosophy and Public Affairs in the study, but it would have done just as well as a reason. Punishment is a really important philosophical topic, and most philosophy journals simply don’t talk about it.

This topic also picks up some recent topics that are not, or at least not entirely, about laws and institutions. Instead they are about the role of mercy and forgiveness in personal interactions. These were best classed as ethics papers rather than social and political papers. A binary sort was able to find these papers as a separate category, so I was able to sort those papers into ethics. But the vast bulk of the papers are about legal punishment (and legal forgiveness and legal mercy), and those are put into social and political.