Kant's Right Of Punishment Analysis

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Kant’s belief on the right of punishment is grand and far reaching. To him, the right of punishment is a supreme power of the government. The government has only the right to punish those who have committed a crime; no punishment may be ordered “merely as a means for promoting another Good” of society or an individual (355). Punishing an innocent man breaches the principles of justice; only criminals (of both private and public crimes) are to be punished.
Kant warns us that the Penal Law is a categorical imperative—it is unconditional and non-circumstantial. If a criminal were condemned to death, he may not barter his way out of punishment, no matter if it will benefit the commonwealth or the criminal. Kant implies that the importance of justice is so extreme that if all men on earth were criminals and must be executed, then it is proper to do so. Because if justice were to perish, then human life will have no more value in the world.
Punishment is measured by the crime committed, said Kant. One way of scaling punishment is “equality retributivism”. This is “an eye for an eye”. If one slanders another, then the offender will be slandered as a punishment. If a criminal commits a murder, then he deserves death. Kant explains, “There is no
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Both forms of retributivism are responses to actions of the offender, not the intent of said offender. Should we punish criminals for their action only and not their intent? Kant overlooks this question in his argument and provides an exclusively act-oriented response in his discussion of punishment (365). Nathanson asserts that this “payback” retributivism is weak compared to retributivism graded by the intent of the offender. Not all murders warrant capital punishment, because not all murders are equally reprehensible, such as killing in self-defense. Kant’s arguments for payback retributivism is simply too small of a shoe to fit the broad range of circumstantial

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