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Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life$
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Derk Pereboom

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199685516

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685516.001.0001

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Free Will Skepticism and Criminal Behavior

Free Will Skepticism and Criminal Behavior

(p.153) 7 Free Will Skepticism and Criminal Behavior
Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life

Derk Pereboom

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a justification for prevention of dangerous crime that is neither undercut by free will skepticism nor by other moral considerations. This theory is based on the right to self-defense, and draws an analogy between treatment of dangerous criminals and treatment of carriers of dangerous diseases. Those infected with such diseases are not morally responsible for the danger they pose, but we generally agree that it is sometimes justifiable to quarantine them nonetheless. But then, even if a dangerous criminal is not morally responsible for his crimes (in the basic desert sense), it would be as legitimate to preventatively detain him as to quarantine the non-responsible carrier of a dangerous disease. In addition, just as fairness counsels that we attempt to cure the diseased we quarantine, so fairness would recommend that we attempt to rehabilitate the criminals we detain.

Keywords:   punishment, incapacitation, reconciliation, self-defense, retribution, deterrence, moral education, quarantine, rehabilitation

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