Kant's Perspective on Crime, Punishment, and Justice

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Punishment is the suffering, pain, or loss that serves at retribution. Others also say it is “the authoritative imposition of something unpleasant on a person in response to a behavior deemed to be wrong by an individual or group” (Hugo & McAnany, 2010). Some question when and why we should punish. Though easy to state, this question is difficult to answer and has lead to a variety of models of punishment. In Kant’s article Metaphysics of Morals, he discusses the importance of punishment and its correspondence to crime, the right to punish, and when to grant clemency. In this paper, I will refer to the articles Critique of Political Reason and Metaphysics of Morals, and I will discuss Kant’s perspective on crime, punishment, and justice. After, I will critique Kant’s perspective and explain the benefits and flaws about it. Last, I will end off by stating my own personal opinion on Kant’s perspective and why I disagree with it. Overall, in this paper, I will explain my disagreement with Kant’s doctrine on punishment due to the fact that I believe some forms of Kant’s punishment, are a violation of humanity.

In the articles Critique of Political Reason and Metaphysics of Morals, Kant explains and believes that punishment must always correspond and is proportional to the crime. Kant defines crime as “a transgression of public law that makes someone who commits it unfit to be a citizen” (Kant 1996). In society, if a crime is committed, one is usually punished. Kant believes that the guilty deserve punishment and that punishment should be proportional to the guilt. He believes that people only get punished because they are guilty of committing a crime, and for no other reason. Therefore, people are punished more harshly for more seri...

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... no one can dispose of his own life” (Kant, 1996). Barely anyone would ever consent to the death of his or her own life; therefore no one should have the right to take it. Whether or not someone is a criminal, the individual is still a human being, which is what Kant fails to recognize.

In conclusion, from examining the two articles we can see Kant’s doctrine on crime, punishment, and justice. After a critique of Kant’s perspective, it is shown how Kant’s forms of punishment are a violation of humanity. I believe that capital punishment is a way for society to dispose their unwanted criminals I believe that it is uncivil and inhumane to kill someone regardless of the reason and to physically make them suffer. As humans we should all be given a second chance to correct our mistakes rather than stigmatizing individuals and taking ones fate into our own hands.

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