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The Moral Punishment Instinct$
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Jan-Willem van Prooijen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190609979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190609979.001.0001

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Motives for Punishment

Motives for Punishment

(p.31) 2 Motives for Punishment
The Moral Punishment Instinct

Jan-Willem van Prooijen

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces utilitarian versus retributive (i.e., deontological) motives to punish. Utilitarian motives aim to prevent further harm from occurring; retributive motives aim to make offenders suffer for their actions. The chapter reviews the various types of utilitarian motives that are applied in a criminal justice setting (i.e., deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation), and discusses to what extent punishment is successful in deterring offenders. Furthermore, the chapter introduces retributive motives, suggesting that people are willing to sacrifice their self-interest to establish justice through punishment, and that free-will beliefs influence punishment. Also, the chapter reviews evidence that emotional states can “spill over” and shape punishment of offenders, and notes that punishment can be intuitive even if no strong emotions are involved.

Keywords:   Retributive motives, utilitarian motives, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, costly punishment, free will, spill-over emotions, universal moral grammar

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