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Ethics of Revenge

Discussion in 'Ethics and Morals' started by The Sum of Awe, May 4, 2014.

  1. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    My comment relates specifically to retributive aspect of punishment (no 4). They aren’t put down because we think they deserve such a sentence you know. It’s not retribution....

    Its more connected to removing future risk of further attacks. Also cost/possibility of rehab is deemed unfeasible, and there is no money afforded to looking after them in safe isolated environments so they can live out the rest of their days.

    Now the moral pros and cons of our treatment of animals like this is another debate of course.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
     
  2. The Sum of Awe

    The Sum of Awe Brought to you by the moment that spacetime began.

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    That's why I was asking. Many who I've spoke with, that believe revenge is unjust, have stated imprisonment/capital punishment/other extreme punishment all need to be done in order to prevent further criminal actions from that person; sometimes it comes down to simply making them learn from their mistakes.

    But when I tossed this question on their plate, if the criminal will never commit said action again with or without punishment, I didn't get the responses I was looking for, going into detail that "we can't be fully sure, can't take risks." Which is simply denying the given in my hypothetical situations.

    If there is no further abuse, nothing to worry about, it'd be ultimately pointless in theory, but I still feel there might be a use for it that we're not aware of. I have a feeling there might be an unconscious reason behind why grudges are held and revenge is useful, but I can't think of what that reason might be.
     
  3. Drolefille

    Drolefille PolyPanGeekGirl

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    If there is no chance of further recidivism, then yay go for it.
    The reason why the victims or their families may appeal to the court, but do not get a final say over sentencing and the like is because it is good for society to have these things removed from the personal and placed into at least theoretically impartial settings. The person may very naturally want revenge - and I've wanted it before as well, I've wanted to hurt someone who hurt me very badly - but that necessarily isn't what is best for society.

    Similarly the victim may have forgiven their attacker, but that doesn't absolve the attacker of the crime to society.
     
  4. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein On the funeral pyre of existence
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    For example 1, I'd be fine with that person getting help for their criminal tendencies and dealt with outside of prison. Prison would probably make that person worse.

    For example 2, I'd want that person dead.
     
  5. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    That really depends on each specific case.
     
  6. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    You can't be serious...
     
  7. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    I am very serious.
     
  8. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    I think the capacity and desire for vengeance/retribution is probably nearly universal among humans. And, like various other attributes common to the human animal, I think many people like to think that they're somehow the exception to millions of years of evolutionarily-driven behaviors and reactions.
     
  9. Drolefille

    Drolefille PolyPanGeekGirl

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    Or perhaps some people acknowledge that ethically their personal desire for revenge shouldn't be allowed to rule. I'm glad now, when I can think clearly that I am not responsible for the consequences of several people I can think of off the top of my head. I have felt the desire for revenge, much as I've felt the desire to hit someone, but acting on that desire is not inevitable.
     
  10. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    I don't see how what you said is mutually exclusive from what I said. Perhaps I wasn't clear. I mean that many people seem to not even acknowledge that they experience these urges and emotions - that they are somehow exempt from eons of physiological and psychological programming via evolution.
     
  11. Magic Man

    Magic Man Reaper of Conversation

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    An interesting question. If we assume there is absolutely zero chance of them ever repeating the offense or a similar one, it's hard to argue for putting them in prison in either case. If somehow I knew they had learned their lesson and would never do anything like it again, I'd have to choose to let them stay out of prison.
     
  12. Drolefille

    Drolefille PolyPanGeekGirl

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    I don't know anyone who does, hence why I probably misunderstood you.

    That said, the concept of revenge is not one that is found among many non-human animals. How much of it is evolution and how much of it is something else is always a question. Much as some people don't feel jealousy over a mate, there are probably people who never feel the desire for revenge.
     
  13. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    Although those behaviors and reactions are common, there are people in this world that don't display those behaviors and reactions.

    When Pope John Paul II was shot in an attempted assassination, he forgave the person, visited him, and did his best to have him pardoned for a smaller sentence.

    It's a Buddhist meditation practice for some to do "loving kindness" meditation where they imagine happiness and well-being for their friends, neutral people, and personal enemies.

    So a person's worldview can in some cases dramatically alter a revenge response. People naturally want a sense of justice, and a sense to keep that person away from hurting anyone else, but many people do not want to cause any suffering to those harmful people.
     
  14. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    I believe punishment should be used to protect other people, rehabilitate the person, and act as a deterrant, since it's an unpleasant result for an action.

    The amount of restriction that authorities would need to use to make sure this never happens again, would turn the situation into basically a prison. Freedom that the person has, can lead to them escaping. So it's not really a rational comparison.

    Perhaps a question that's a bit more realistic is, if a prison has a really luxurious prison environment, compared to a rather sparse and sad prison environment, do you care? Like do you want prison to be specifically unpleasant for this person? The ideas of free will and moral agency never really seemed rational to me so in my worldview, deliberately causing suffering for the sake of suffering is unhelpful. I believe harmful people should be kept in secure places, such as prisons, and that they should be kept as humanely as possible within budget restrictions and with the goal of not making prison look like some place that people want to go.
     
  15. Drolefille

    Drolefille PolyPanGeekGirl

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    What?
     
  16. psychoslice

    psychoslice Veteran Member

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    I don't have a revengeful nature so I would be happy with number one, number two is hard to say, you don't know unless it really did happen to you.
     
  17. Gehennaite

    Gehennaite Active Member

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    The future will never be safe... therefore punishment is always justifiable.
     
  18. Drolefille

    Drolefille PolyPanGeekGirl

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    It's called a hypothetical.
     
  19. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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    In my own personal belief system, which is the same as that is what Catholicism teaches, revenge is gravely immoral. It even says as much in the Holy Bible.

    Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    (Romans 12:17-21 RSV-CE)

    That's just one of the many verses on the subject.
     
  20. dgirl1986

    dgirl1986 Big Queer Chesticles!

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    Honestly, if someone touched a loved one...I would be out for blood. That would be my instinct.
     
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