[ExI] punishment

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Mar 22 23:31:14 UTC 2009

Gordon wrote:

> http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/punishment/
> Per the Stanford Encylopedia, we could (perhaps
> at the risk of over-simplifying) first classify
> justifications for punishment into two basic categories:
> forward-looking and backward-looking, i.e.,
> consequationalist and deontological.
> "The practice of punishment must be justified
 > by reference either to forward-looking or to
 > backward-looking considerations. If the former
 > prevail, then the theory is consequentialist
 > and probably some version of utilitarianism,

Very good. I like that.

> "according to which the point of the practice
 > of punishment is to increase overall net social
 > welfare by reducing (ideally, preventing) crime.
 > If the latter prevail, the theory is deontological;
 > on this approach, punishment is seen either as a
 > good in itself or as a practice required by
 > justice, thus making a direct claim on our
 > allegiance."

Yes. And I guess we're all "forward looking" here.
I may be the only one who had even one kind thing
to say about retribution (namely, that in some
cases the victims or the relatives of the victims
appear to need it), and even that is "forward

> I find it interesting that while almost every
> reasonable person will agree that we ought to
> incarcerate or execute wrong-doers, there seems
> to exist no clear consensus on exactly why. 

Eh? Well, the only disagreements I know about are
(a) whether deterrence is effective (it is, obviously,
or I would speed a lot more than I do), and (b)
whether rehabilitation is possible (which at the
present time, it is not, short of extreme brain-
washing techniques).


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