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3479Re: Abolishing the death penalty

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  • tekton12
    Jun 7, 2006

      Thanks for the reference. I liked Greene's article on free will and
      legal responsibility. I agree with his contention that free will is
      an illusion. Retributivist justice is based on this illusion, ie,
      that a criminal should be punished because he deserves it. Strictly
      speaking, no one really "deserves it" since all our actions are
      caused by our genes and our environment. There's no disembodied "I"
      that controls our brains that can be held responsible for our
      behaviors. We are our brains.

      But Greene also does not think that we should no longer punish
      criminals. He admits to being a consequentialist; he believes that
      punishment is justified because it removes the offender from
      circulation and spares society from future harm - that is, the
      consequences of punishment have a net socially redeeming value.
      Punishment sends a message to all would-be offenders that their
      behavior will be dealt with harshly. You don't have to believe in
      free will in order to be a consequentialist. Nazi war criminals may
      have been "determined" by their genes and environment to launch the
      genocidal second World War, but they can not use this "lack of free
      will" as an excuse for their behavior. We are still justified in
      punishing them because doing so eliminates them as a threat and
      spares society from future harm.


      --- In pinoy_atheists@yahoogroups.com, badboylamok <badboylamok@...>
      > Tekton12,
      > There is a very interesting website on this issue:
      > http://www.csbmb.princeton.edu/~jdgreene/
      > There are numerous links here that deal with retributivist vs.
      > consequentialist form of justice or whatever its called.
      > badboylamok
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