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The Western notion of justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity or fairness.

There is no way to equally judge another human being or bring back what the violation has caused equally. The attempt will lead to mistakes and cruelty. More insidious is the notion someone can bring justice. I bring this up because the smart men and women I know (asked 40) all agreed this is why they still believe in the religion they believe in. Some cited fear of death as number 2 but all said they believe there has to be justice  from higher power ultimatey. And that this is the only solace they have in this world. They believe someone who took so much life, like a Dahmer, would have to be judged by something eternal. I said someone in war may take 100's of lives but this is judged justice because they did it under orders or for a "just" cause.

Justice does seem to be hard wired instinctual.Most social mammals show different degrees of abhorrents to inequality.Especially primates.

But essentially isn't the pursuit of real justice not possible? Calling it necessary means this will make those who deem the power to wield it, to better humanity, unjust from the beginning? Isn't justice another way of claiming superiority? Doesn't a despot in the world use it to claim there power? If we agree justice is not a noble pursuit and clearly impossible (like following the word of god), what laws or punishments should be changed or updated? How would you feel if a mass murder or child molester was treated with a kind hand, rather than the visceral feeling of gutting them like a pig and dancing in the entrails as they slowing die. I am the first to admit this sounds more like justice at a primal level. But should we be smarter than that?

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How do people come to deserve things? Through their deeds.

I'll just admit maybe I could have used a better word than "deserve" when it comes to kids. People can take it from there (unless I's really that obscure?).

(Damnit, I let my goat get gotten again. Ok, I'll rise to the challenge.)

I think at the very least, we as a society could do a better job of socializing our kids and each others' kids, i.e. more face-to-face and with a wider variety of cultural interactions, instead of just the full time class in a desk with a bunch of peers who are at exactly the same age and possibly share similar dysfunctional conundrums. (Sorry I don't have time to explain this more. Just trying to correct my possibly imperfect use of the word "deserve", above.)

And I might have added "and as the result of the deeds of others," referring to the immediate and extended victims of a crime.

But how about this:

A fireman 2 kids and a wife. Stellar record many medals and really well liked and respected. They have money issues, his health has taken a hit from being a first responder at the twin towers. For some reason he really can't do his job and now his wife is about to leave do to the stress and anger he cant seem to control any longer. some of that used to help motivate him but now it won't stop. He thinks he needs help some days and then other the anger is so strong he doesn't even understand he has an issue. He gets angry one night and kills his wife after another argument, just loses his temper. Even though there are reasons he might have snapped, he will be tried for murder. Very little will come out about his disease they will try but essentially he passed the cognitive test needed to be tried. You say his deeds should be his worth, but now one deed and 2 lives and are over, 2 kids without parents?

Thanks I really am thankful everyone is discussing it. I agree I don't think the big picture can be knwon until we remove a lot of the stigma behind the criminal action itself.

If we could get all 6 billion people in the world to start running east at the same time, do you believe we could slow  the earth's rotation?

Yes.

Conservation of angular momentum says yes it would slow down, until of course the people got tired and stopped running, then it would speed up again.

Whether it would make enough difference to be measurable is another question entirely.

Do we call it justice because most people are not courageous enough to call it revenge? Where do we draw the line, that is, when do we call one revenge and the other justice? IF it is revenge we are seeking, is it noble? 

I don't know whether we are hardwired to seek revenge/ justice.

I don't think we need to punish. Punishing someone is built on the presupposition that this person in the situation he was in could have acted differently. 

How would you feel if a mass murder or child molester was treated with a kind hand, rather than the visceral feeling of gutting them like a pig and dancing in the entrails as they slowing die. I am the first to admit this sounds more like justice at a primal level. But should we be smarter than that?

This presents a difficult position. As have said above, if we agree that this guy[s] couldn't have acted differently, then society should be rich enough to treat him nicely. How would I feel, I must admit, like killing him with my hands, and as you say correctly this is justice revenge at the primal level.

Punishing someone is built on the presupposition that this person in the situation he was in could have acted differently. 

If you're a determinist, which apparently you are, then you need to accept that everyone can't do otherwise than they do. 

Do you have an argument against that?

I can't think of an argument against that. Do you have an argument against it?

No, so the person who commits the crime does what he must do, as do those who go after revenge. 

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