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Chapter 6 - Deontology and Deterrence for Free Will Deniers

from Part II - Alternatives to Retributive Punishment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 August 2019

Elizabeth Shaw
Affiliation:
University of Aberdeen
Derk Pereboom
Affiliation:
Cornell University, New York
Gregg D. Caruso
Affiliation:
Corning Community College, State University of New York
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Summary

In this chapter I outline what I take to be a solution to a problem about free will denial and the justification of punishment pointed out by Saul Smilansky. Smilansky argues that free will deniers must acknowledge that some institution of punishment is necessary to maintain law and order, but since criminals do not deserve to be punished, it is unjust to punish them, and we therefore have a duty to compensate them. Since this is a great injustice, we must compensate them very heavily, in fact so heavily that the institution of punishment will cease to deter and will instead become an incentive to commit crime. Previous responses to Smilansky’s “practical reductio” argument by Neil Levy, Derk Pereboom, and Gregg Caruso have emphasized consequentialist moral reasons. I advocate a deontological social contract approach to punishment that draws on Kantian and Rawlsian notions of treating criminals as ends by respecting their rational consent to punishment.

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Chapter
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Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society
Challenging Retributive Justice
, pp. 116 - 138
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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References

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