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Coined by John Rawls in his 1955 paper “Two Concepts of Rules”. Probably a portmanteau of the Ancient Greek τέλος (télos, result; end; loosely, the greater good) and the English (pun)ishment. Compare telish.



telishment (usually uncountable, plural telishments)

  1. (consequentialism, uncountable) The practice or institution of punishing the innocent for the sake of providing deterrence.
    • 1955, John Rawls, “Two Concepts of Rules” in The Philosophical Review LXIV, № 1, page 11:
      Try to imagine, then, an institution (which we may call “telishment”) which is such that the officials set up by it have authority to arrange a trial for the condemnation of an innocent man whenever they are of the opinion that doing so would be in the best interests of society.
  2. (consequentialism, countable) An instance of telishing.
    • 1961, John Hospers, Human Conduct: An Introduction to the Problems of Ethics[1], page 457:
      And I would say the same about punishments — not telishments, but punishments — in which the penalty is far too severe.

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