It is no doubt a sign of the march of secularism that most men now believe that, if there were any justice in the world, they would be better rather than worse off. In their opinion it is not mercy that they need, but compensation. The world has done them wrong. What does an academic philosopher deserve who writes prose such as the following?

That buttress or maybe more integral part of the proposition of grievance desires needs to have added to it what can be distinguished from it, and was mentioned in passing a minute ago.

Certainly he needs the mercy of the critic; but, according to the author of those words, the distinguished philosopher Ted Honderich (the Grote Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London), he cannot deserve anything. It is one of the burdens of his influential book Punishment: The Supposed Justifications, recently revised as Punishment:...