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It seems to me that punishment can be justified on grounds of both general deterrence and individual deterrence. Why not two birds with one stone? I think one reason we are justified in punishing any given particular agent is because they would only serve as a good example if they actually committed a wrongful act. It would otherwise be an arbitrary example, and rather than deterring wrongdoers, it would lead to a state of public mistrust and panic.

For what it's worth, I'm a compatiblist about free will, but I just don't think basic desert is relevant to criminal responsibility. I think we are morally responsible for what we do in terms of basic desert, but I think we should only -hold- people legally responsible under a consequentialist lens. I distinguish then between someone being responsible and holding them responsible.


Thanks for your reply.
I think even if one believes that there is no desert, the issue of criminals who are no longer dangerous may become a difficulty in a forward-looking sense in terms of suffering of the victims and/or family members and potential instability of the system.
For example, an utilitarian might object to a lack of imprisonment in those cases, and defend her alternative against some of your objections by arguing that they are implicitly based on backward-looking considerations (and even on desert in all but name). I can elaborate a little on that reply to some of your objections to utilitarian-based deterrence if you like (though in this case the proposed utilitarian alternative would not be based exclusively on deterrence as the one you were objecting to, the reply to the objections is the same).
That said, I acknowledge that if it's possible to implement such policy in a stable fashion, one of those concerns disappears. The other one (i.e., the suffering of the victims and/or their families) would seem to remain, though.


Thanks for the reply.
I wasn't thinking of a former Nazi criminal who went through a process of contrition - he may or may not have, but that the issue is whether he poses a threat, regardless of whether he feels guilty or found a way to excuse his actions in his own mind.
On that note, there is a recent article in The Washington Post entitled "Why one of the world’s most wanted suspected Nazis never faced justice". ( )
Granted, his guilt wasn't established before a court, but even if he was guilty (and it seems to me there is good evidence that he was), I would easily reckon that after spending six decades in Canada as a beekeeper, staying out of politics and out of trouble, the 90-years old man was not a threat to the public. And I think if a court had to choose whether to quarantine someone like him in order to protect the public, would not do so, if they were doing their job as instructed. Whether that's a problem or not form a justice point of view, is a different issue - you might argue it's better not to imprison him.
The case of the stray bullet also does not seem far-fetched to me. In my assessment, the person who fired the shots and killed someone, and feels terribly sorry about it - and even believes and says that he deserves to be punished for it - poses at least considerably less of a threat to the public than the person who fired similar shots but hurt no one, all other things equal.
As for your points about victims letting go of the past, I think generally (there may be exceptions, depending on the person) they probably have a better chance of doing that if those who wronged them have been punished. But I'm not sure there is much empirical evidence on this, in one direction or the other.

Thanks for the clarification Izzy. But that sounds like soft determinism.

Hi Gregg,

Thanks for your paper with which I’m of course completely sympathetic. Taking a public health and social-distributive justice approach to preventing criminal behavior, so that we need to punish and quarantine less, is of the first importance, and you lay out the principled case for such an approach which as a progressive I find very persuasive. The skeptical challenge to desert, should it ever take hold, will help motivate non-punitive quarantine instead of inflicting suffering and deprivation. If we can get people to see that even the very worst among us were simply unlucky in their formative circumstances (they are not to blame for who they became, even given diachronic capacities for self-formation), that helps to mitigate the retributive impulse such that we won’t over punish as driven by our emotions.

The quarantine model avoids endorsing punishment per se in favor of treatment, but of course even non-punitive quarantine will count as pretty aversive, that is, as punishment, for most of those who lose their liberty. So I think deterrence can fit with your and Derk’s model, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t so long as we don’t over punish on those grounds either. White collar and corporate crime would arguably be much better deterred were malefactors faced with quarantine (keeping the public safe from their further predations until they genuinely repent their wrong-doing) rather than even very stiff fines.

You’re rightly seeking an alternative, non-retributive basis for proportionality in treatment, one that justifies different levels of fines, incapacitation and monitoring, depending on our estimate of danger and recidivism. Here again I don’t think we can avoid the fact that such levels may involve increasing the disadvantages and deprivations endured by offenders (but short of cruelty, as you say), such that sanctions and incapacitation necessarily end up as punitive – punishment - from their (and perhaps our) perspective. To come out and say that repeat drunk driving will be punished (not treated, as Dennett would insist) by license revocation, and then loss of liberty for a third offense, isn’t being inhumane, but realistic, given that folks with something to lose can be deterred by the prospect of even non-cruel sanctions. I think Bruce says punishment, although not deserved, is sometimes an unfortunate necessity. But the point is that since it’s not deserved, we should minimize punitiveness when seeking to deter.

To make the treatment approach to offenders work we have to deal forthrightly with retributive emotions and pre-reflective intuitions about fairness, as Angra points out. Since I think these are basically heuristics that guide the natural consequentialism of keeping cheaters and aggressors in check, we can acknowledge their validity as first cut estimates of what should happen to offenders. But then we should immediately second guess these emotion-driven estimates in light of the luck objection, our disavowal of retributivism, and our endorsement of taking the least punitive and most autonomy-enhancing route to public safety, deterrence, moral education, and other forward-looking objectives.

We intuitively flinch from punishing the innocent for good natural consequentialist reasons (they don’t need to be quarantined, deterred or morally instructed), and we’re loth to release someone from quarantine (however old or infirm) who has never acknowledged and repented the horror and wrongness of what he did, unlucky though he was: genuine repentance is a sign of no longer being a threat to public safety (might we eventually use brain scanning to confirm the sincerity and depth of an expression of regret?). Restorative justice directly addresses the emotions that will still come up for us when dealing with offenders, so might be a good complement to the treatment approach.

Thanks again Gregg for advancing the cause of criminal justice reform!


I know your initial example was not someone who went through the process of contrition. My point precisely is that we are less inclined to believe a mass killer is harmless when they haven't gone through such a process. The idea is that genuine remorse inspires confidence in a person's reform. This is the thing we look for in rehabilitation both publicly and in our personal lives.

As for the old Nazi war criminal, for all we know, he actually has done harms since the war, even if not as severe, or done more discretely or passively. Maybe not. My point is that if he were genuinely remorseful it would inspire much more confidence that he is no longer a threat to others. You are right though that given his state, I would say he strikes me as far less threatening than what would warrant outright imprisonment.

As for someone who attempts to shoot someone and misses, but feels no remorse, I think they are still deserving of punishment. It seems sensible to me they should face punishment and/or a longer sentence in a way that someone who is remorseful would.

Lastly, I agree we need more evidence on how victims deal with grief to make firm judgments about the case, but my only point was that it at the very least seems to be possible for agents to let go of their retributive sentiments in the face of genuine remorse and reform. A crisis of moral conscience is an imprisonment in its own right, and one that often precedes redemption.

Paul, thanks for your comments! I think concerns over deterrence are typically overblown. Since the “tough on crime” movement began, our criminal punishments have become more and more punitive (three strikes your out laws, mandatory minimums, etc.). One would think such tough measures would help deter crime (and, no doubt, that was surely part of the reasoning for implementing them). Yet despite the high deterrence value of these harsh punishments, the U.S incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. With less than 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. houses 25% of the world’s prisoners. Deterrence doesn’t seem to be working. On the other hand, in countries like Norway, where the max sentence one could get for a crime is 26 years in prison, crime rates are low (especially violent crime). One might think the max sentence of 26 years is not enough to deter violent criminals (why not commit a murder if you’re only going to get 26 years in prison?) but it seems to produce better results than our punitive system and I would much rather live under the Norway system. Secondly, I think there are independent moral concerns for deterrence theories and I discuss these in my paper. My account avoids such objections.

N eem, I think you may be misunderstanding what free will skeptics deny and what they do not deny. As Izzy points out, skeptics do not deny that we are able to act according to our wants and desires, adopt positions based on reasons, etc. While you say that’s compatibilism, it’s not since skeptics deny that such abilities are enough to ground basic desert moral responsibility and license retributive punishment.

Angra, thanks for your comments. I think the utilitarian reasoning you outline is precisely why I am uncomfortable with deterrence theories. I fear it runs into the “use objection.” As for the suffering of the victims and their families, I definitely understand that. But it’s consistent with free will skepticism to adopt a forward-looking account of moral responsibility grounded in future protection, future reconciliation, and future moral formation. Perhaps a restorative process where we bring victims and criminals together would be helpful. Acknowledging one’s moral failures (even if one is not ultimately responsible for them) is necessary for moral growth. As long as we restrict ourselves to the reactive attitudes defended by Pereboom, I think the results may actually be an improvement on our current system.

Taking the rest of the day off to spend with my family ;) Will respond more tomorrow.

To clarify Angra, the example of the gunshot I used was not your initial example, but I think the same principle applies. Even if it's a celebratory shot, I think that -on principle- it's sensible the remorseful person who actually hits someone would face a less severe punishment than the one who feels no remorse and doesn't (all other things being equal). It's a case of negligence in each instance, except one has a longer path toward reform than the other. How difficult this would be to instantiate practically is another matter (or a further matter). It might be that it's more efficient for institutional reasons to have a standard sentencing for cases of negligence in the hope of reform. I'm not a legal expert so I don't know the details of all the pragmatics involved, but my initial impression is that they might face the same punishment since the state can only invest so many resources in reforming an agent in cases of negligence (as opposed to say murder). Rule of thumb might be X amount of probation and community service generally approximates the level of punishment that on average tends to deter behavior (including the inducement of guilt driven self-correction).

Before leaving the house I just wanted to thank Tom Clark for his thoughtful and supportive comments! I can agree on how Tom couches the the role of deterrence...I think it's perfectly consistent with my acount (as living as we keep all the other constrainst I discuss in place and keep the focus on prevention and social justice).

Thanks for explaining the difference between free will scepticism and compatibilism. I grant that it's probably only because I still don't understand exactly what FWS amounts to, but I still find it hard to see why, if we accept that "skeptics do not deny that we are able to act according to our wants and desires, adopt positions based on reasons, etc", we wouldn't also think that the criminal's ability to act according to their wants etc would suffice for those who believe in retribution to license retributive punishment. Why must the adherent of retribution believe in libertarian freedom? Why couldn't she find that it's enough that the criminal acted in accordance with their own wants and desires?

Hi Gregg: you say my model's empirical predictions have not yet been verified, and you're right. But my point is that *your* (the free will skeptic's) predictions have not been verified either. Further, my point is that neither have ever even been *tested*, and as such, neither has more empirical support than the other. Again, you want to say that "science suggests free will skepticism"--but let's think about this: the only thing science has ever studied is physics outside of brains. So, science has *never* tested the one area of the world where you would expect to find libertarian free will. It is inductively incorrect to take existing physics to provide *any* evidence for free will skepticism. It just hasn't studied the area of the world where libertarian freedom might be.

In fact, the epistemic point I am making here--while it might seem absurd on the face of it--is a subtle one that physical scientists have long understood. Let me give you a recent example.

As physicists were searching for the Higgs Boson with the Large Hadron Collider, they searched a great deal of parameter space and found *nothing*. On the surface you might think--and many laypeople did think--that it was becoming more and more improbable that the Higgs boson would be discovered. However, probabilistically this is wrong. For the theory that predicted the Higgs boson merely predicted that it would probably be found *somewhere* within the testable parameter space of the LHC. Failure to find it for a long time, then, was *no* evidence that the Higgs boson was becoming "less probable." For, due to the nature of theory that predicted it, one had to search the *entire* parameter space to cogently derive the conclusions that the Higgs probably doesn't exist. And of course we did find the Higgs the very last part of the parameter space the LHC checked.

This examples shows that we need to be very careful with probabilities, and that "common sense" estimations of probabilities are often erroneous, because they fail to pay attention to *what* is claimed to be probable. Libertarians have *never* claimed it is probable that we would discover libertarian free will outside of the brain. This, any theory of physics derived from observations outside of the brain is *any* way a test of how probable libertarianism is. Taking physical observations outside of the brain as indicating that "libertarianism is probably wrong" and "skepticism probably right" is an inductive fallacy. It's an understandable fallacy, just as it was understandable that many people (erroneously) that it was becoming more and more improbable that the Higgs would be found. But it is a mistake nonetheless. Given that science has never studied the one part of the world where libertarian free might be, none of the science we have even speaks in any cogent way for or against the hypothesis.

Now, I do take your (and Double's) other concerns about libertarianism seriously, but here's the thing: if Darwinism, Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics should have taught us anything, it is that the world does not have to "cooperate" with what philosophers take to be a priori coherent or credible. Many, many philosophers and scientists responded to these breakthroughs with outrage, asserting (in the cases of relativity and QM) that they could not *possibly* be true, because they involved contradictions. Alas, nature didn't seem to care--and we have since found coherent ways to explain them. Anyway, my point is that it's important not to prejudge things, going beyond what our empirical theories have actually tested. I fear that free will skepticism does this, for reasons given above. This isn't to say that it's false, or that libertarianism is true--but it is to say, I think, that some of the canonical empirical arguments for the former (skepticism) over the latter (libertarianism), while appearing cogent, are not.

N eem,

Compatibilists have been asking that question for years. At least one response is that there is a strong intuition that free will involves the ability to do otherwise. This is a loaded concept, but the idea is that if there is only one way the world could have been, and things could have only gone one way, then it's hard to see in what sense (says the skeptic) we truly had the freedom to do the thing we wanted to do. Some (classical/Humean) compatibilists just bite the bullet and say all that matters for the kind of free will relevant to moral responsibility is the power to act on one's desires, full stop. To others, this is an unsatisfying response, and so further argument is offered. I lean toward the classical Strawsonian-Frankfurt camp, since I don't think MR requires the ability to do otherwise, but it does require some further psychological features that Hume didn't fully supply (reactive attitudes, second-order volitions, etc). And I especially don't think criminal responsibility requires it.

It occurred to me that there's a very simple analogy to more clearly express the inductive/probability fallacy I was getting at in my previous comment.

Suppose no one has ever encountered a mouse--and my theory says (and has always said) that if there is any mouse anywhere in the world at all, it is probably in my bedroom. You then search everywhere except for my bedroom, find no mouse, and conclude there's probably no mouse in the world. This is a fallacy. You never checked the one part of the world I predicted the mouse probably would be (the bedroom). Moreover, it's also fallacious to only check half my bedroom before concluding there is probably no mouse in the world. You need to check the *bedroom* before you can cogently conclude that my theory (that there probably is a mouse, and it is probably in my bedroom), is probably false.

Marcus, you've precisified the conditional but not addressed the question. Your subjective credence that if indeterminism of the right kind and in the right place is the case, then libertarianism is true is 1? You don't countenance any chance your theory is wrong, and you think we should all have the same credence?

As to your question - would the truth of indeterminism of the right kind be evidence in favour of libertarianism - I'd say, yes, it would very, very weak evidence in favour. It would show that some necessary condition of one view is satisfied. But since my own scepticism is not based on incompatibilism, it wouldn't be direct evidence against my view. Of course I think my view is true, but I am even more convinced that libertarianism is false (no matter how the physics turns out) than that my view is true. Again, pretty much no one who rejects libertarianism these days does so on the basis of claims about physics.

thanks for your lucid exposition of compatibilism.
Now, as you say, "there is a strong intuition that free will involves the ability to do otherwise (...) that if there is only one way the world could have been, and things could have only gone one way, then it's hard to see in what sense (says the skeptic) we truly had the freedom to do the thing we wanted to do. My feeling - probably just a misunderstanding - is that FWS pesupposes such freedom when it comes to deciding how to organize society, but denies it as regards the person who commits a crime.

N eem,

Thanks for the response.

I think the FWS that Gregg has been discussing concerns libertarian FW in particular. A skeptic of this kind might accept that we have the ability to do otherwise, or might not, depending on what they think that entails. Libertarians think of the ability to do otherwise as involving the ability to select between open alternatives in a way that is not already determined by our prior history. It's what you might call the "forking paths" model of freedom. You can be skeptical about this kind of free will and still think we have ability to construct plans and act on our desires. The ability to act on the basis of our deliberations could, on principle, be a determined process (for all we know).

Hi Marcus--thanks for the reply. (And a hat-tip to Paul for the zombies remarks!)

I haven't much more to say than Neil's latest reply. I peeked at your urls and indeed they provide some evidence that quantum phenomena may play roles--even necessary roles--in biological processes. But what these studies seem to provide is evidence for indeterminism involved in reliable process *types* of occurrences, such as effective photosynthesis, but not evidence for indeterminism playing an important role in particular *tokens* of brain processes, and especially ones that also involve the kind of rational control that libertarianism needs. Only evidence of the latter kind could possibly raise the credence for belief in libertarianism. In my original remarks I did stress the need for evidence of this latter kind to increase our need to believe in libertarianism.

N eem, your question gets at the heart of the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists. I wasn't intending on addressing that in this post. All I would say here is that there are a number of incompatibilist arguments that maintain compatibilism is unable to preserve basic desert MR, including the manipulation argument, Pereboom's four case argument, the Basis Arugement, the consequence argument, the luck argument, etc.

Marcus, I would reiterate what Neil said. Your argument seems to be physics-heavy but many of the arguments against libertarianism are independ of claims about physics. You also say that while libertarianism has not yet been tested, neither has free will skepticism. I'm not sure what this means. Are you assuming that all the arguments for free will skepticism are based on empirical assumptions about the brain or the fundamental nature of reality? I don't think that's true. How do you "test" Levy's luck argument against free Will and moral responsibility?

Hi Neil: No, if you actually read my paper "A New Theory of Free Will", you will see that I do not think the probability is 1. That would be silly. That would be like saying that the probability of the truth of the General Theory of Relativity is 1 because it's predictions about Mercury's perihelion were confirmed. What successful predictions *do* is give you inductive evidence that the theory is more likely true than competitor theories that do not make the prediction. Free will skepticism does not predict the wave-function "violations" individualized to every person's brain that my libertarian model does. Nor does it predict the other things my model does (verification of the holographic principle and lattice gauge quantum chromodynamics). Since your theory does not predict those things but mine does, if they are confirmed *then* the probability that my theory is true is not 1--but it is sure as heck more probable than its rivals.

Marcus, I think you've lost track of the dialectic. You said that our current credence whether libertarianism is true should be .5. Your reasoning seemed to be that the probability that indeterminism (of the right sort ) is true is .5. I pointed out that that seemed to entail that you assigned a probability of 1 to the conditional.

as for any increase in probability of your theory over mine, given certain observations, I hereby amend my view. Luck eliminates all free, and the universe is Indeterministic in exactly the way Marcus thinks. I now make exactly the same empirical predictions as you do. If you're right, I'm right. If you're wrong. I'll retreat to my original view which agnostic on the physics.

Neil: you *do* realize (I hope) that the move you're making is the same one proponents of Ptolemaic astronomy made in response to claims observations were better explained by Copernican astronomy (viz. "you say that planets orbit in circles around the Sun. I hereby amend my Ptolemaic theory so that it makes all the same predictions your theory does, in which case if you're right, I'm right. But if you're wrong I retreat to my old view), right? It is also, I hope you recognize, the same move ether theorists made in response to relativity (viz. "We can revise the ether so that it makes the same predictions as relativity, without having to make absurd claims about relativity of space and time").

I'm not exaggerating. These are the very things that proponents of those old dogmas said in response to the new theories. But we now rightly regard their moves as absurd. They are *arbitrary*, post-hoc amendations to the theory. Your theory did not predict what mine did in *advance*. This is why we reject Ptolemaic theory and ether theory in favor of the new theories, regarding the so-called amendations to the earlier theories what they are: rather desperate attempts to avoid the cold, hard fact that the new theory made correct predictions and explains things the old theory didn't.

At the end of the day, if we observe the things my theory predicts, you can call it "luck" all you want, just like opponents to relativity maintained belief in the ether. But it will look desperate, just that move looked desperate. If we find quantum collapses differing non-randomly in human brains with *no* physical explanation, I am sure there are those like you who will resist the libertarian conclusion. But I suspect that resistance will fade, just as it did in past cases in other sciences.


It's not true that neuroscientists haven't bothered at all to explore the relationship between quantum mechanics and the brain. Much of the literature I've reviewed suggests that quantum level events have minimal, if any explanatory relevance to large scale macro events given what we know about the mechanisms of neurochemical processes in the brain. The preferred framework for macroscopic neurobiological explanation is unsurprisingly classical. This is because classical physical explanations at the cellular level have been very successful at explaining macrolevel events. It's true that researchers have found that quantum level analysis might be helpful in explaining photosynthesis and certain faculties of human sense, but some of these events are thought to be subsumed by events explicable under macrophysical descriptions. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence in the interdisciplinary fields of cognitive neuroscience and modern psychology that the mechanisms of deliberation and human action can be explained in terms of the neurobiological functions of the brain and the natural processes of evolution. On the whole, quantum descriptions have not seemed to have had much explanatory power as compared to classical descriptions in explaining human behavior.

Nevertheless, if quantum biology develops further and it turns out that quantum events prove to have significant explanatory use in identifying the mechanisms of human action, it's not clear this helps the libertarian. In fact, it potentially makes matters worse. I am inclined to agree with Cohen and Greene (2004) that determinism plus quantum mechanics would likely just show that random quantum mechanical events and higher level neurobiological processes are alone sufficient for determining everything that happens. This would mean a purposive, non-determined causal agent is explanatorily irrelevant to our framework of human action.

Now you might say that since science hasn't tested your particular model of libertarian free will, we can't say for sure that we don't have libertarian free will. That may very well be true, but it's not true that we can't have legitimate doubts about the existence of libertarian free will until your particular model has been tested, or until science has otherwise explained away and/or explored all the theoretical possibilities of quantum consciousness. Based on what we know now from science and independent philosophical analysis, I think we have valid reasons for having skepticism about the existence of libertarian free will until the evidence suggests otherwise.

Marcus, you seem to be under the impression that we're arguing about physics, whereas my central point - which you address neither here nor in your paper - is that the problem with libertarianism has nothing whatsoever to do with physics. Maybe the following will help you see why your response to me is irrelevant.
Max: I think the next U.S. president will be a Democrat.
Jo: I think there is life elsewhere in the universe.
Max: current polling data supports my prediction. Therefore it is more probable than yours.
Jo: no, because I believe there is life elsewhere in the universe and the next president will be a Democrat:
Max: that's *exacty* the same move made by defenders of Ptolemaic astronomy.
Jo: (bangs head on wall).

Neil: No, I'm not under the impression we're arguing over physics. We're arguing over the philosophical interpretation physical observations, which is *exactly* what the ether v. Relativity and Ptolemy v. Copernicans were doing. You want to say that if we observe the kinds of non-random quantum collapses I predict occur--and which will be unique to every person and not explicable in terms of any physical law--that would be mere luck. I want to say this is philosophically desperate, in the same way that philosophical proponents of the ether interpretation of relativistic phenomena was desperate (and yes, there were many such people, including Whitehead). The problem for your interpretation--and the the win for mine--is that non-random quantum collapses in each individual's head, which cannot be predicted and which are *non-random*, do not look like luck at all. They look like libertarian *choices*. In any case, look, I'm happy to wait for the observations to come out and see what people take the best interpretation to be. I'm willing to bet if what I predict we observe is observed, people will not be apt to call it luck: they will recognize that the better, more natural interpretation is that it is choice. But we will have to wait and see...

Hi Izzy: Neuroscientists have studied it a *little*, but not much. As a link I gave on the previous page explains, ten years ago scientists almost universally thought that quantum mechanics would have little to no effect on macro-level plant or animal biology--but this is quickly turning out to be false. Plants and animals both appear to harness quantum effects in important ways.

Not only that. The doubts you're pointing to in the neuroscience community are a bit backward looking--and there is very new research which challenges it. First, a decade or two ago Roger Penrose (with Stuart Hameroff) gave a very detailed, formal model of (A) how quantum effects could result in vibrations in microtubules in the brain, and (B) how these vibrations could have behavioral effects. Apparently, these vibrations were just observed last year:

Not only that. There is some very interesting emerging research arguing that quantum mechanics provides an elegant explanation of (1) certain patterns of human reasoning, (2) the ability of human beings to outperform machines with certain types of reasoning, and also (3) distinctly human patterns of irrationality. See e.g. (these are just a few papers off the top of my head. There is a lot of emerging work in these areas):

Finally, and I can't emphasize this enough, my own model does *not* equate libertarian freedom with normal quantum effects (i.e. obeying the Schrodinger equation). My model *explains* normal quantum phenomena as the result of peer-to-peer networking, and invokes a second, *non*-random indeterminacy in each person's brain that cannot be predicted by *any* physical equation (though as I put it in "A New Theory of Free Will", one could formulate gerry-rigged equations post-hoc relative to each person to model their libertarian tendencies, viz. a "Izzy Black wavefunction"...though that so-called waveform could change dramatically as a result of new choices).

Thanks for replying. Your paper raises objections to utilitarian deterrence theory. Those cut no ice against a negative-retributivist deterrence approach, which requires responsibility for punishment, and limits the amount of punishment to the lesser of (a) what is proportional to that responsibility, or (b) what is required for (b1) deterrence and/or (b2) justice among crime:punishment correspondences. And of course I endorse your quarantine model for dealing with non-responsible offenders, but I don't call that punishment. I'm not sure we're actually disagreeing on the substance, given your agreement with Tom Clark, who commented that deterrence should have a place in your model. Of course, as a compatibilist, I'll label these policies in ways you probably won't like.

You're right that the US justice system is out of whack. But I don't think you can lay much of that at the feet of the concept of general deterrence. I'm pretty sure Norway's legal system recognizes a value to general deterrence, too. What they don't have much of, most notably among many things, is a history of racial divides with some of those groups getting degrading treatment. I suspect they also lack a "too big to jail" mentality for massive white-collar crimes ( ). The US doesn't just have a harshness problem in its justice system; the root problem is more about the imbalance of power and respect, in my opinion.

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