A Philosophical Approach to Crime and Punishment

1800 Words Jul 26th, 2008 8 Pages
There are many ways to reason through the correct course of action involving human punishment for crime. Crime is considered negative in society, a breach in the way one should behave. The problems arise when the time comes to punish a criminal. There are disagreements over the severity of a crime, the mentality of the criminal, and the correct penalty that should result from that crime among other things. Kant and the Utilitarian perspective on crime and punishment do not coincide. Both philosophical viewpoints seem convincing in their own right, but not without flaws. One is simply the better way to reason through the issue at hand as it relates to society as a whole. Immanuel Kant has a few fundamental ideas about how society should …show more content…
If less crimes are being committed as a result of the possible punishments, then the idea of punishment is bringing about a greater good. A Utilitarian may also take the position that criminals should be rehabilitated rather than necessarily punished for the crime, since many criminals have a questionable state of mind. A significant amount of criminals have mental problems, they may find it difficult to find a place in society. As a result, they act out negatively and this results in crime. Those individuals need to be helped, not punished. Although they undoubtedly must be contained until they can function in society without committing these crimes. The Utilitarian does not have a set standard for every situation like Kant. Kant believes that a murderer should be punished with murder, an “eye for an eye” philosophy. The Utilitarian bases the course of action solely on the greatest good being achieved, that differs strongly from case to case. The Utilitarian is not concerned as to whether the criminal suffers for their crime, whereas Kant very well is, as long as the criminal inflicted suffering in committing their crime. Kant is motivated by each being treated as they would treat others in order to preserve human dignity. Kant does not care whether by putting a murderer to death, a greater pain is brought about. That is the most significant difference that a Utilitarian will site between the two frames of thought. Kant, needless
Open Document