Resentment, punitiveness, and forgiveness

An exploration of the moral psychology of punishment

Authored by: Jonathan Jacobs

The Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415708654
eBook ISBN: 9781315885933
Adobe ISBN: 9781134619450


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This essay examines some moral-psychological issues relevant to criminal sanction. It is meant to sketch out some of the main contours of attitudes and sentiments almost unavoidably connected with punishment, either as motives for it, as reasons for it, as responses to wrongdoing and wrongdoers, or otherwise impacting how individuals and a society regard offenders and punishment. I cannot hope to provide an adequate account of even just the essentials in an essay on the present scale. The issues are complex, involving causal considerations, normative considerations, and important aspects of how members of a society regard and treat each other. Still, I hope that the discussion attains a measure of helpful clarity at least in regard to formulation of some of the main issues.

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