By William Wringe
This ebook argues that punishment's functionality is to speak a message approximately an offenders' wrongdoing to society at huge. It discusses either 'paradigmatic' situations of punishment, the place a kingdom punishes its personal voters, and non-paradigmatic circumstances akin to the punishment of organizations and the punishment of warfare criminals by way of overseas tribunals.
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However, I shall argue in this chapter that we are unlikely to be able to give a satisfactory answer to either question unless we address a question that advocates of expressive theories of punishment rarely address head on: the question of who or what it is that is expressing the messages that are involved in punishment. I shall also argue that answering this question casts significant light on questions about how punishment is to be justified. For the purposes of this chapter I shall focus on what I labeled in the introduction the ‘paradigmatic case’ of punishment: that in which a member of a political community is punished by the legitimate representatives of that community for offenses against laws made in the right way by duly constituted legislative bodies.
In other words they might be individuals who suffer either much more or much less than the typical individuals of their type. ) How far this is a problem on a practical level would depend on how we assign offenders to ‘types’. So we might think our assignment of individuals to types should be done in such a way as to minimize the extent to which problems of this sort arise. Unfortunately, it seems to be built into the very structure of the account of harshness which I have offered that cases like this should be able to arise – that is, that there might be differences between what a particular individual finds burdensome and what an individual of their type might find burdensome.
In this case it need not be part of our intention in punishing someone that they are made to suffer. We need only intend that the punishment be harsh in the sense I have outlined. To see this, consider our responses to a citizen who, knowing that certain kinds of judicial response to wrongdoing were, in my terms ‘harsh’, concerned themselves with the question of whether particular, named individuals were actually being caused suffering. It is plausible that, absent special circumstances, we would find this troubling: it seems unduly voyeuristic.
An Expressive Theory of Punishment by William Wringe