Christopher Bennett

BA Stirling, MA, PhD Sheffield

Department of Philosophy

Head of Department

Chris Bennett stood outside HRI building
c.bennett@sheffield.ac.uk

Full contact details

Christopher Bennett
Department of Philosophy
45 Victoria Street
Sheffield
S3 7QB
Profile

Chris has taught in the Department since 2001, having previously done his PhD at Sheffield. His PhD looked at the question of whether retributive emotions have a place in the good human life. This and related questions continue to be a central interest. Chris was Chief Editor of the Journal of Applied Philosophy from 2013-2018. He is currently Treasurer of the Society of Applied Philosophy.

Research interests
  • Theories of punishment and alternatives to punishment
  • Criminal law and criminal justice
  • Emotions and expressive action
  • Normative powers
  • Moral responsibility and moral responsibility
  • Blame, forgiveness and apology
  • Political authority and legitimacy
  • Democratic political theory
  • Philosophy of law
  • Friendship and marriage
  • History of philosophy, especially Kant and post-Kantianism
Publications

Books

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Bennett C (2022) Friendship and Marriage, The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Friendship (pp. 179-189). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2021) Eyewitness testimony, the misinformation effect and reasonable doubt, The Social Epistemology of Legal Trials (pp. 30-45). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C & Brownlee K (2020) Punishment, CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (pp. 253-270). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2019) The varieties of retributive experience, Retribution (pp. 317-335). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2019) How should we argue for a censure theory of punishment? In du Bois-Pedain A & Bottoms AE (Ed.), Penal Censure : Engagements Within and Beyond Desert Theory Oxford: Hart Publishing. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2018) Intrusive Intervention and Opacity Respect In Birks D & Douglas T (Ed.), Treatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice Oxford: Oxford University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2018) Children, crime and punishment, The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children (pp. 395-405). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2017) Retributivism and Totality: Can Bulk Discounts for Multiple Offending Fit the Crime? In Ryberg J, Roberts JV & De Keijser JW (Ed.), Sentencing Multiple Crimes Oxford: Oxford University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2017) Grace, Freedom, and the Expression of Emotion: Schiller and the Critique of Kant In Cohen A & Stern R (Ed.), Thinking about the Emotions: A Philosophical History (pp. 184-205). Oxford: Oxford University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2016) Expressive Actions In Abell C & Smith J (Ed.), The Expression of Emotion: Philosophical, Psychological and Legal Perspectives Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2015) Punishment as an Apology Ritual In Flanders C & Hoskins Z (Ed.), The New Philosophy of Criminal Law (pp. 213-230). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2015) Why Greater Public Participation in Criminal Justice? In Loader I, Sparks R & Dzur A (Ed.), Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration Oxford: Oxford University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2014) Retributivist Theories, Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (pp. 4446-4456). Springer New York RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2014) Public Opinion and Democratic Control of Sentencing Policy In Roberts J & Ryberg J (Ed.), Popular Punishment On the Normative Significance of Public Opinion (pp. 146-162). Oxford University Press, USA View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2013) Retributivism In Bruinsma G & Weisburg D (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice Springer View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2013) Satisfying the needs and interests of victims, Handbook of Restorative Justice (pp. 247-264). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2012) "Do Repeat and Multiple Offenders Pose a Problem for Retributive Sentencing Theory?" In Ryberg J & Tamburrini C (Ed.), Recidivist Punishments: the Philosopher's View Lanham MA: Lexington Books. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2012) The Expressive Function of Blame, Blame: Its Nature and Norms Oxford University Press View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2010) 'More to Apologise For': Can We Find A Justification for the Recidivist Premium in a Communicative Theory of Punishment? In Roberts JV & Hirsch AV (Ed.), Previous convictions at sentencing Hart Pub RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2010) Blame, remorse, mercy, forgiveness, The Routledge Companion to Ethics (pp. 573-583). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2010) "Blame, Remorse, Forgiveness, Mercy" In Skorupski J (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD (2010) Punishment and Rehabilitation In Ryberg J & Corlett JA (Ed.), Punishment and Ethics: New Perspectives Palgrave Macmillan RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) The problem of punishment and the restorative alternative, The Apology Ritual (pp. 13-25). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) The cycle of blame and apology, The Apology Ritual (pp. 101-122). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) The Apology Ritual and its rivals, The Apology Ritual (pp. 175-198). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) Some retributivist themes, The Apology Ritual (pp. 26-44). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) Restorative justice and state condemnation of crime, The Apology Ritual (pp. 125-151). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) Responsibility, reactive attitudes and the right to be punished, The Apology Ritual (pp. 47-73). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) Non-retributive dialogue, The Apology Ritual (pp. 74-100). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2008) Institutional blame and apology, The Apology Ritual (pp. 152-174). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2008) THE APOLOGY RITUAL A Philosophical Theory of Punishment Introduction, APOLOGY RITUAL: A PHILOSOPHICAL THEORY OF PUNISHMENT (pp. 1-+). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C (2007) Apology and Reparation in a Multicultural State, Law and Philosophy (pp. 272-287). Oxford University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett CD () The Role of Remorse in Criminal Justice In Tonry M (Ed.), Oxford Handbook Online in Criminology and Criminal Justice Oxford University Press View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bennett C () Remorse, Probation and the State In Tudor S, Weisman R, Proeve M & Rossmanith K (Ed.), Remorse and Criminal Justice Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

I am currently supervising PhD students working on the following topics:

  • Foucault and obesity
  • Sexual ethics
  • Transitional Justice
  • Kantian approaches to bioethics
Teaching interests

I am fascinated by the way in which philosophical questions arise from everyday experience, so that reflection on controversies that arise in practical life leads us quickly to some kind of engagement with philosophical issues. Engagement with philosophical theorising can help deepen our understanding of these controversies, and in some cases can help us make progress in resolving them. This is the approach I take in teaching. In my modules I hope to develop students’ skills of appreciating philosophical issues, and using philosophical literature to deepen their understanding. I also hope to develop their skills in thinking critically about these issues, and improve their ability to argue philosophically. I aim to make my teaching inclusive and oriented to helping students to engage with philosophical issues for themselves. I currently teach Matters of Life and Death at Level One and Philosophy of Law at Level Three/Masters level. With Yonatan Shemmer, I co-designed the Department’s innovative Level One Writing Philosophy module, and I have often co-taught that module. I believe that this module serves as an excellent introduction to the skills involved in reading, understanding and writing philosophical arguments, and that it gives students a good grounding for the later years of their degree.

Teaching activities

PHI125 Matters of Life and Death – This Level One module looks at the ethics of various situations that involve causing death: from the eating of non-human animals, to abortion, to capital punishment, to killing in war. It serves as an introduction to philosophical thinking about morality, but without assuming any particular background in philosophical moral theory.

PHI135 Writing Philosophy – This module introduces students to some intriguing philosophical issues, and uses the discussion of those issues as the basis for activities that help students to develop important skills. These skills include: understanding and summarising another person’s argument; constructing an argumentative strategy; developing a reading list; learning from feedback; and understanding marking criteria. For this module, students submit an unusually high number of assessments (five) in order to benefit from intensive practice and development of their writing skills. Students peer-mark one of those assessments in order to develop their understanding of the marking criteria. And the final assessment consists in a version of a previous essay that is rewritten in the light of the marker’s feedback.

PHI364/6364 – This Level Three module looks at philosophical issues arising from law. The existence and dominance of the legal system is an important and distinctive feature of modern societies. Many important decisions in our society are ultimately made by lawyers, or through the legal system, and it is only through the legal system that we can do many of the things that we need to do in our lives. This module asks, amongst other things, whether the dominance of law in modern societies is a good thing. We begin by looking at issues in criminal law, including punishment and complicity. We then look at issues about the duty to obey the law, including rights and duties of disobedience. We also look at the nature of law and legal systems; the relationship between law and morality; and the place of law in a democracy.  

Postgraduate Supervision

My PhD supervision is and has been on topics such forgiveness; punishment and criminal law; sexual ethics; meaningfulness in life; exploitation in medical research; environmental ethics; normative powers such as consent; and Kant’s theory of freedom. I welcome inquiries from PhD students who are interested in working on such topics, as well topics broadly related to the research interests mentioned above.