Kant, And Jeremy Bentham's Individual Perspectives On Punishment

1240 Words 5 Pages
Pain and punishment are two words that interweave with each other in accordance with criminal justice. However, the way an individual is able to interpret these words can develop very different, and influential forms of thinking. Nevertheless, these developed forms of thinking allow individuals to form opinions on the subject, and aid in the formation our state. In this essay I am going to be explaining both Immanuel Kant, and Jeremy Bentham’s individual stances on punishment. This will include the theories of retributivism, and deterrence as leading factors to explain each theory. I will also be defending Jeremy Bentham’s position, and the utilitarian view of punishment.
To begin, Immanuel Kant was a firm believer in the term retributivism.
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This provides a more utilitarian view towards the theory. The theory claims that punishment should be used as a form of deterrence, rather than finding an equal punishment. For example: If an individual attacks another individual by willingly pouring acid on the victims face. The individual now being permanently scarred, and facially deformed will rely on the state for a form of punishment. The state now having control over the situation decides that since the individual attacked the individuals face in acid, the attacker will now receive the punishment of their entire body being scorched with acid. With this rather extreme scenario, the theory is explained that since the criminal has been fully scarred, the punishment should be publically announced in order for the general population to hear about the incident. By hearing of these extremely harsh punishments, this has the ability to deter other future offenders from committing the same crime due to fear of the …show more content…
On one side, we have the theory of retribution, and on the other stands the theory of deterrence. When first comparing the two, a major difference that is present in the effects on society. Bentham believes in a punishment being given for the overall good of society, while Kant believes that deterrence is irrelevant, and mainly punishing the criminals for their actions meaning retribution is the only accurate theory. If an individual’s actions, hurt another individual, the response should not be to retaliate, it should be an example to all others in a society not to commit such a crime. The overall good for society must be taken into account when comparing the two theories. What good is harsh punishment if the crimes will still being committed in society. If the society is not able to benefit from the criminal punishment, then the punishment is doing more harm then good. With the eye-for-an-eye philosophy the individual being punished may or may not overall deter the criminal from committing the crime again. For example, in our modern court system even though many drug dealers are put in prison, they often will continue their drug campaign from behind bars, learning nothing from being placed in the penitentiary. With this comes Bentham’s prison given the title of the Panopticon. The panopticon stems from the words pan meaning all, and opticon meaning to observe. The prison architecture would be based off a

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