Compare And Contrast Jeremy Bentham And Kant's Theories Of Punishment

1460 Words 6 Pages
This essay will distinguish between the theories of punishment illustrated by Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant and will explain why I oppose Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian approach on punishment. Although Bentham and Kant did not have a concrete answer to the methods of issuing punishment, Bentham’s theory consists of more questionable and empty statements. Kant, in my opinion, has a more realistic view of life-based on the innate actions of human beings as opposed to Bentham utilitarian theory. Therefore, it is a more ethical decision to side with the views and system of punishment offered by Kant.
Jeremy Bentham has a very complex view of the theory of punishment and the procedure of when and how to induce punishment within society. The role
…show more content…
Immanuel Kant’s claims are based on two simple, but greatly controversial, philosophies. The first concept insists that the criminal shall only be punished if the individual’s actions “deserve” to be punished. The aim of retribution is to merely punish in accordance with the crime committed, not to for “promoting” a future positive, not either for civil society or individual good. Private crimes such as “embezzlement of money” amongst private citizens are managed by civil court and crimes such as robbery are dealt with by public law because it “endangers commonwealth” (Kant, pg.1). The second component of Immanuel Kant’s retributive theory portrays how one should be prosecuted for committing the crime. When distributing punishment, the “scale of justice” should not be in favor of one party over the other. When one perpetrates evil onto an individual it should be addressed as evil imposed on himself. Therefore, the punishment should be given in equivalence to the crime committed on the basis of an eye for an eye. This concept “assigns both the quality and quantity” of a fair penalty. In regards to crimes committed by a higher “social status”, their crimes are not qualified for the “principle of retaliation” . The reason for this is that a “pecuniary penalty” does no justice for one who is “wealthy” and guilty of a crime. …show more content…
A utilitarian approach is not ideal since it has countless flaws such as wrongful convictions, corruption within a society, and a life lived through fear. Fear does not bring pleasure; wrongful convictions belittle one’s life and corruption does not bring success. The state of our world presently is a perfect illustration of how authority being misused by those in power leads to chaos and division. It is important to note that even when the State is under a microscope to govern righteously, those with the motive of injustice will find ways to carry out inequality. A few examples are Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria, Meek Mill’s sentencing of 2-4 years in prison for riding bikes and the most recent, Cyntoia Brown being sentenced to 51 years in prison for defending herself against a rapist. Therefore, if a government regulated to produce truth and fairness is corrupt, then one can only imagine a government in which lying is deemed acceptable. Along with this, I believe that fear is not always enough to prevent crime from occurring. Take drug dealers as an example, they are well aware of the punishment but still distribute drugs. This is where Kant’s retributive theory is appropriate since whether you are an individual in a big city or small city and whether you are famous or not, retributive theory supports punishment being induced for the crime committed at

Related Documents