Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

Chapter 4 - Beyond the Retributive System

from Part I - On the Practical Implications of Free Will Skepticism


The retributive system is motivated by powerful strike-back desire (actually a general desire to pass the pain along) combined with nonconscious belief in a just world. To preserve belief in a just world, we must suppose that most people are receiving their just deserts, and that requires belief in moral responsibility. Neoliberal societies are deeply dedicated to individual moral responsibility, resulting in harsh judgments and gross inequity. The systems approach offers a promising path away from moral responsibility and toward a more just and equitable society.