2009/9/5 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>: >> http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html#dawkins > It seems foolish to beat Basil's car because (1) we know the beating > will not improve it's function and (2) we know that is must be possible > to fix it (since we built it in the first place). However neither of > these is true in the case of dealing with a person who has committed a > crime (I disdain the word "criminal" as if it were a separate species). > Such a person may be deterred from further crimes by some punishment and > more to the point other persons may be deterred by the example. > Furthermore we have no idea how to "fix" the person in a mechanistic way > - and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. "Clockwork Orange").
But there is a difference between punishment to serve some utilitarian end - reducing crime - and punishment as retribution. It's also interesting to consider what would happen if we could easily change people's character and motivations. Would it be better to forcibly change a violent psychopath's brain so that he becomes a nice person and thanks you for it afterwards, or would it be better to lock him up to prevent him re-offending? -- Stathis Papaioannou --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---