Scanlon’s “Giving Desert its Due”

A couple of years back Tim Scanlon did a blog post and comment-section discussion on PEA Soup. Here’s one bit: In earlier work, including my Tanner Lectures on the significance of choice and Chapter 6 of What We Owe to Each Other, I rejected the idea of moral desert because I identified it with the… Continue reading Scanlon’s “Giving Desert its Due”

The “Humanitarianism” of Living in Prison Until Death

The profile of Judith Clark from last month has me worried: We are more willing to impose death when the killer is painted in monochrome—if we can define him or her by the horror of the crime. Many think this is just; that is what blame and punishment are about. But in rare public comments… Continue reading The “Humanitarianism” of Living in Prison Until Death

I have some questions about violence

It looks like I’ll be co-teaching a course on violence with Daniel Levine in the spring, and I have some questions: Is it just me, or do philosophers rarely talk about violence? We talk a lot about killing, and war, and punishment, and even torture. We talk about peace and non-violence. But “violence” doesn’t come… Continue reading I have some questions about violence

Reflections on my Crime and Punishment Seminar

Old Ohio Penitentiary by J. Harris Day

  This semester I taught a course on crime and punishment, and in part out of competition with my colleague Seth Vannatta, I set out to give a final presentation on the dimensions of the course. This is the presentation I wrote. Introduction Our task was to explore the role of ethics in the law,… Continue reading Reflections on my Crime and Punishment Seminar

Status Emotions and Punishment

I haven’t written much about status emotions, recently, but I came across one of my favorite Facebook memes and remembered again how central it seems. I don’t endorse the misogyny here, but it perfectly describes the way that fundamental attribution bias transforms resentment into contempt, and thus leads, in my view, to both epistemic and… Continue reading Status Emotions and Punishment