Introduction to Ethics
Handout 9 - Kant
Respect for Persons:
Treat humanity always as an end and never as a means only.
The Categorical Imperative (aka Universalizability):
Act in a certain way only if it would ok with you if everyone acted the same way in the same situation.
The Justification of Punishment:
The Utilitarian Justification of Punishment:
Punishment is justified only when it has good enough consequences.
Some possible good consequences of punishment:
c. Pleasures of Vengeance
d. Reduction in Fear
The Retributive Justification of Punishment:
Punishment is justified when "the punishment fits the crime."
Kantian Justification for Retributivism:
a. Respect for Humanity
Punishing for the sake of its good consequences treats the punished merely as a means. It's more respectful to punish for retributive reasons -- it treats the person not as a means to some end but rather how s/he deserves to be treated.
Someone who commits a crime says, through his/her action, that this is how people are to be treated. So if we punish him/her by treating him/her in the same way, we are simply carrying out his "wishes" -- we make the maxim he has acted on a universal law.