3479Re: Abolishing the death penalty
- Jun 7, 2006Badboylamok,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, badboylamok <badboylamok@...>
> There is a very interesting website on this issue:
> There are numerous links here that deal with retributivist vs.
> consequentialist form of justice or whatever its called.
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