Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Punishment more humane than care

01.02.2008
It’s commonly believed that punishment is something uncouth that an enlightened and humane society should minimize or abolish altogether. But the use of punishment­making perpetrators suffer or experience something unpleasant­receives support in a new dissertation from Göteborg University in Sweden.

Today there is a tendency for governments to shift to more punishment-based criminal policies, after decades of dominance for the notion of care, where the purpose of sentences is primarily to offer care and to rehabilitate the criminal. The trend toward more punishment-based policies is often deplored, not least among intellectuals.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that it is just as meaningless to punish a person who commits a crime as it would be to punish a broken down car. In both cases there is an explanation for why things are not as they should be, and it would be more humane or rational to address what is wrong than to mete out blame and punishment.

But in his dissertation Punishment and Personal Responsibility, Göran Duus-Otterström advocates the use of punishment. He finds that there are actually clear advantages for governments to punish rather than rehabilitate criminals.

“Punishment has an optimistic and respectful message built into it: the person being punished is being reprimanded as a morally responsible individual on whom demands can be made and of whom more can be expected,” says Göran Duus-Otterström, a political theorist at Göteborg University.

“It’s not certain that anyone­either the perpetrator or society­ultimately gains anything by our watering down that message in well-intended attempts to undermine the criminal’s responsibility for his/her actions. It may be better to take the blame than to be likened to a broken down care that needs a mechanic,” says Göran Duus-Otterström.

Punishment and Personal Responsibility is a philosophical defense of a mild, predictable, and just regimen of punishment that speaks a language of morality with its citizens. Among other things, he explains why the idea of rehabilitation is problematic from an ethical perspective, which is why it’s wrong to reduce sentences for first-time criminals and give repeat offenders stiffer punishments. And why future punishment might come to consist of being forced to suffer through a series of lectures on Kant’s moral philosophy.

“The dissertation also shows why a political focus on protecting society is dangerous, why the crimes of the marginalized is not excusable but perhaps justified, and why it’s right for us to assume that individuals have free will, despite all the medical diagnoses regarding deviant behavior that maintain the opposite,” concludes Duus-Otterström.

Title of dissertation: Punishment and Personal Responsibility. Author of dissertation: Göran Duus-Otterström, phone: +46 (0)31-786 4686, e-mail: goran.duus-otterstrom@pol.gu.se

Eva Lundgren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory

26.04.2017 | Life Sciences

New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D

26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>