Kant's Perspective on Crime, Punishment, and Justice Essay
1831 Words8 Pages
Punishment is the suffering, pain, or loss that serves at retribution. Others also say it is “the authoritative imposition of something unpleasant on a person in response to a behavior deemed to be wrong by an individual or group” (Hugo & McAnany, 2010). Some question when and why we should punish. Though easy to state, this question is difficult to answer and has lead to a variety of models of punishment. In Kant’s article Metaphysics of Morals, he discusses the importance of punishment and its correspondence to crime, the right to punish, and when to grant clemency. In this paper, I will refer to the articles Critique of Political Reason and Metaphysics of Morals, and I will discuss Kant’s perspective on crime, punishment, and justice.…show more content…
For example, Kant states, “If he has committed a murder he must die. Here there is no substitute that will satisfy justice. . . Accordingly, every murderer – anyone who commits murder, orders it, or is an accomplice to it – must suffer death; this is what justice wills in accordance with universal laws that are grounded a priori. . . This fitting of punishment to the crime is shown by the fact that only by this is a sentence of death pronounced on every criminal in proportion to his ‘inner wickedness’ (even when the crime is not murder but another crime against the state that can be paid for only by death)” (Kant, 1996). Here we see that Kant strongly believes in retribution (revenge). He believes that equality is established when legal punishment responds to guilt. He also strongly believes in the death penalty as a form of punishment and justice and believes it is the only proportional punishment to murderers and those who have wickedness inside of them. Kant (1996 b) believes that “in every punishment, there must first be justice”. Therefore he believes that all punishment (including the death penalty) is a way of giving justice, and a failure to punish, would be societies failure of giving justice. Not everyone has the right to give justice. Punishment must be given by someone in authority (either a single person or a group) and is either carried out under a system of law or in other social settings (such as within a family). Kant
The Concepts of Law, Authority and Justice Essays
1187 Words5 Pages
The Concepts of Law, Authority and Justice
Laws in this sense mean prescriptive legal rules, as opposed to descriptive patterns of cause and effect in nature. They are the laws of society’s making, rather than the laws of science. There are certain characteristics of these laws; they are designed and implicated by society for society, they reflect the conventions of the society which generates them, they are prescriptive which means that their members of that society must or must not do certain things. They can be violated, however sanctions are applied to those who do violate them, and sanctions are the prerogative and responsibility of the official government present in that society. The…show more content…
The laws within societies are not concerned with what is morally right or wrong, but whether an action has good or bad effects on the rest of society. For example adultery is widely thought of as being immoral, however it is not illegal. Most illegal actions are also held to be immoral, therefore, this means that morality is much further-reaching than the law.
The authority of laws comes as a result of an unwritten social contract between all the members of a society who choose to live in that society. They gain their authority by being willed by the majority of the people, and because of the way in which they are drawn up they do not possess any absolute qualities.
Some people may think that law and morality are the same thing, but they would be incorrect, however there is undeniably a link between the two; the morality of a society, or it ‘mores’ have a strong influence on the laws that are drawn up. There re three main ways in which philosophy sees the relationship between morality and law, these are legal positivism, natural moral law and the interpretive approach.
Authority on the other hand is considerably different to the concept of law, it can be defined as the ability and/or right to enforce or demand acceptance and obedience. According to some we, as humans,