The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

In Defense of Flogging

Discuss morality and ethics in this message board.
Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
Judaka
Posts: 251
Joined: May 2nd, 2017, 10:10 am

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Judaka » January 18th, 2019, 9:20 pm

Deny something good by not forgiving*

User avatar
Intellectual_Savnot
Posts: 92
Joined: November 26th, 2018, 11:07 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Myself
Location: Wokeville, California
Contact:

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » January 20th, 2019, 4:00 am

Judaka: I think that is pretty much the reasoning people have, but I am still farly certain the reason prisons are still even in place is for the cash dollars. Either way, I don't think there IS an enlightening answer for why we have it. Prison just flat out is terrible.

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Eduk » January 20th, 2019, 4:55 am

@Intellectual_Savnot how can you be fairly certain the reasons prisons are in place is for the cash dollars?
Unknown means unknown.

Judaka
Posts: 251
Joined: May 2nd, 2017, 10:10 am

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Judaka » January 20th, 2019, 7:27 am

I think prison is like democracy, it's the best because there are no good alternatives. The fact that people can point out lots of problems with prison doesn't mean anything, it does not resolve this critical issue.

Alias
Posts: 2646
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Alias » January 20th, 2019, 1:41 pm

Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 7:27 am
I think prison is like democracy, it's the best because there are no good alternatives. The fact that people can point out lots of problems with prison doesn't mean anything, it does not resolve this critical issue.
Nor does beating people with leather thongs, hoses or ropes.
Debates over criminal justice are always about details; never about principles.
The fundamental questions:
What is crime? What causes crime? How should society respond? What outcome do we hope to achieve? What action will achieve it?
are never part of the discussion, and so there can be no satisfactory resolution.

Judaka
Posts: 251
Joined: May 2nd, 2017, 10:10 am

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Judaka » January 20th, 2019, 8:33 pm

Alias wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 1:41 pm
Nor does beating people with leather thongs, hoses or ropes.
I have no idea why this comment is a reply to me saying "prison is the best option among bad ones".
Alias wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 1:41 pm
Debates over criminal justice are always about details; never about principles.
The fundamental questions:
What is crime? What causes crime? How should society respond? What outcome do we hope to achieve? What action will achieve it?
are never part of the discussion, and so there can be no satisfactory resolution.
Human beings aren't that dumb, the problem is your fourth question, what outcome do we hope to achieve and another question of "is it possible to achieve that and to what extent?" These are the principles people argue over.

Is prison for punishment? Reducing recidivism? The safety of victims? Closure for the victim and relatives? Ensuring ex-cons can re-enter society well? Ensuring the safety of society?

I see these things debated all the time, people have different expectations but what prison is will be defined by which purpose it's going for. They each have entirely different parameters for success - can't really be compared to each other as outcomes. You will have your views on what prisons should be for and I will have mine. Each answer is obvious based on what you prioritise and convincing someone to prioritise something else is really, really hard.

Alias
Posts: 2646
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Alias » January 20th, 2019, 10:33 pm

Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 8:33 pm
[Nor does beating people with leather thongs, hoses or ropes.]
I have no idea why this comment is a reply to me saying "prison is the best option among bad ones".
It's a response to the topic, not solely to your post.
Human beings aren't that dumb
Look around!
the problem is your fourth question, what outcome do we hope to achieve and another question of "is it possible to achieve that and to what extent?" These are the principles people argue over.
Yes, but without the first three, those arguments are grounded in assumptions not in evidence, or at least not on the table. Which means that the arguments over means and methods are also at cross-purposes and can never reach a resolution.
Is prison for punishment? Reducing recidivism? The safety of victims? Closure for the victim and relatives? Ensuring ex-cons can re-enter society well? Ensuring the safety of society?
In the USA - with the highest inmate population in the world, including countries with political prisoners - it does only the first, and in case it doesn't do that enough, two thirds of the sates reserve the right to kill felons.
Each answer is obvious based on what you prioritise and convincing someone to prioritise something else is really, really hard.
Impossible. Hopeless.

Judaka
Posts: 251
Joined: May 2nd, 2017, 10:10 am

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Judaka » January 21st, 2019, 1:13 am

The first three questions are only important for some of the goals, punishment, for example, doesn't need to answer these questions.

Regardless of whether or not arguments are based on evidence, the PRINCIPLES behind an argument will always be at cross-purposes and no solution can be reached. Your "evidence' about the benefits of rehabilitation means nothing when arguing in favour of prisons serving to protect the community and bring closure to victims and relatives.

You can easily find examples of people being incarcerated for way too long and people not receiving punishments that protect their victims from further action. You can find examples of families being devastated by "unfairly short" prison sentences without any difficulty also.

I've met many who think the enlightened approach is rehabilitation but I think that's overly simplistic. I think the US imprisons for 1. Punishment, 2. Deterrent and 3. War on crime and it's actually the latter which is being proven to be an incorrect course of action. Option 2 also seems to be wrong.

I'm mostly a heartless person, I don't expect my views to become standardized, all I can do is say that prison is a more complicated issue than everyone who argues about prison seems to think, due to the aforementioned problem of different principles and goals being unreconcilable. It's easy to call everyone else an idiot but intelligence isn't the problem, it's about who to direct your compassion towards and what your values are.

Alias
Posts: 2646
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Alias » January 21st, 2019, 1:36 am

Judaka wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 1:13 am
The first three questions are only important for some of the goals,
What goals?
punishment, for example, doesn't need to answer these questions.
Indeed, it does! If you just want to punish people at random, or for being the 'wrong sort' of people, maybe not. But if you want to want punish actual wrong-doing, you need to determine what doings are wrong, how wrong, why they happen and whether all wrongdoing is of a single kind or various kinds, requiring different responses. Otherwise, how can you possibly come up with a formula to administer appropriate punishments?
Regardless of whether or not arguments are based on evidence, the PRINCIPLES behind an argument will always be at cross-purposes and no solution can be reached.
Okay. So, the best possible system is one that can't possibly work?
Then why didn't we quite at "hopeless" ?
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

Judaka
Posts: 251
Joined: May 2nd, 2017, 10:10 am

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Judaka » January 21st, 2019, 2:38 am

Okay it does, didn't read your questions properly.

What do you mean the best possible system is one that can't possibly work? The current prison system is a half-way measure between varying perspectives. We care about rehabilitation but prevent any hope of it being successful because we also aim to punish and isolate the criminals for too long. We want to protect people and give victims and relatives closure but we also want to give criminals a second chance when we feel it's warranted. We want to punish criminals but we also want the conditions of prison to be humane.

I think it can be improved even under the existing framework but designing a new framework around something like reducing recidivism, although I don't know what that would look like. I know that prison sentence length doesn't appear to change recidivism rates that much but perhaps there are other variables which do. However, to properly achieve this framework, we'll need to establish sentencing rules which aren't ideal for other goals. We may fail to protect people who needed protection, families may feel betrayed by the justice system and other side effects.

Our prison system just seems to be trying to achieve a whole lot of things at the same time and so, never ideally performs at achieving any of those things. It's just not like the alternative to that is better, it's just a tradeoff.

I'm sure we could agree that there are situations where the result is not due to a tradeoff but just arbitrary, senseless stupidity but that's part and parcel with having a government be responsible for something complicated, things will improve but not at a great pace.

User avatar
Arjen
Posts: 103
Joined: January 16th, 2019, 4:53 am
Favorite Philosopher: Immanuel Kant

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Arjen » January 21st, 2019, 3:57 am

Judaka wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 9:19 pm
I think there's an aspect of morality which not only judges an action by its negative aspects but also what good is being denied or gained through the action. Flogging perhaps isn't more immoral than prison because people think its a worse fate but rather because there's a hypothetical chance that prison rehabilitates people, it also prevents criminals from hurting more people while flogging seems a pointless act of violence in comparison. This concept may be the basis for things like redemption and forgiveness because why give second chances to people if not because you believe it might deny something good or that something good might be gained from forgiveness?

There are many things I'd change about prison but replacing it with an act of violence just seems cold and malicious, precisely because there's no uplifting answer to the question, why are we doing this?
I agree with your points. However, there are also points in favor of flogging. I will likely forget some points, but it is open to expansion.

=======================================================

In favor of the prison incarceration:
- Re-habilitating aspect of schooling and education.
- Humane in the sense of the lack of physical injury.
- Prevents criminals from making more victims in the mean time.
- A punishment to show make wronged people feel slightly righted.
- It is a punishment of someone who did wrong.

In favor of (public) flogging:
- Strong deterrence for onlookers to not do similar crimes.
- The punishment makes wronged people feel righted greatly in the case of small crimes.
- Humane in the case of small crimes and the shortness of the punishment.
- It is a punishment of someone who did wrong.

=======================================================

I think when we compare the lists, we see that the 2 points that judaka is making are the difference between corporeal punishments and incarceration: To prevent the criminal from making more victims and to try to give the criminal skills and moral teachings to prevent that criminal from feeling forced to commit another crime. The difference in the time that the punishment lasts is explained by this. I some cases it is justified, I would say. In other cases, perhaps not (white collar crimes of highly educated people). Perhaps there is an argument to be made for an examination of the crime and the circumstances to determine if corporeal punishment or incarceration will work better?

Judaka
Posts: 251
Joined: May 2nd, 2017, 10:10 am

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Judaka » January 21st, 2019, 5:09 am

What kind of small crimes? You see comparing prison and flogging makes more sense when we're talking about more serious crimes.

For smaller crimes, you need to compare it to financial settlements/fines, probation, sex offence registry, house arrest, stripping of a licence, banning people from establishments, places, services or going near certain people and other punishments for less extreme offences.

Once again we are challenged to find some kind of potential constructive element to flogging but it's nowhere to be found. In comparison to alternative punishments which actually aim to punish the crime in a constructive or helpful way.

OP has stated that most people would prefer flogging to prison, if we accept that premise then the wording of your advantages is unsubstantiated. You claim flogging is actually a stronger deterrent than prison (but people seem to be less afraid of flogging), you say the wronged will feel more satisfied with the punishment (but they should view it as a lesser punishment than prison?) and flogging is definitely not humane, modern society is against a teacher hitting a child with a ruler or something. There's no way they would standby flogging as an ethical punishment.

If you disagree with OP and flogging is actually less desirable and more extreme than prison/alternative punishments, okay but it's still just a violent punishment with no positives. I'd also rather go to prison than have my hand chopped off but that doesn't make chopping off my hand a better punishment. You've agreed with my previous statement so there's no need for me to explain why to you, I assume.

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Eduk » January 21st, 2019, 5:34 am

@Arjen I was wondering why you believe this
In favor of the prison incarceration:
- Re-habilitating aspect of schooling and education.
- Humane in the sense of the lack of physical injury.
- Prevents criminals from making more victims in the mean time.
- A punishment to show make wronged people feel slightly righted.
- It is a punishment of someone who did wrong.

In favor of (public) flogging:
- Strong deterrence for onlookers to not do similar crimes.
- The punishment makes wronged people feel righted greatly in the case of small crimes.
- Humane in the case of small crimes and the shortness of the punishment.
- It is a punishment of someone who did wrong.
I mean what life experiences do you have with the criminal justice system which might lead you to believe your lists are exhaustive and accurate? To me it reads like some guy with zero experience in prisons writing down their first thoughts on a subject they know nothing about?
Can I ask what you do professionally? Do you think I could write intelligently about it?
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
Arjen
Posts: 103
Joined: January 16th, 2019, 4:53 am
Favorite Philosopher: Immanuel Kant

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Arjen » January 21st, 2019, 5:49 am

Judaka wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 5:09 am
For smaller crimes, you need to compare it to financial settlements/fines, probation, sex offence registry, house arrest, stripping of a licence, banning people from establishments, places, services or going near certain people and other punishments for less extreme offences.
I agree. And is a small fine or banishment more deterring than a good flogging? I think not! The flogging will deter more. But, what we do agree on, is that depending on the details of the crime, the victim and the criminal, a flogging is either more or less effective than incarceration.
Judaka wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 5:09 am
Once again we are challenged to find some kind of potential constructive element to flogging but it's nowhere to be found. In comparison to alternative punishments which actually aim to punish the crime in a constructive or helpful way.
OP has stated that most people would prefer flogging to prison, if we accept that premise then the wording of your advantages is unsubstantiated. You claim flogging is actually a stronger deterrent than prison (but people seem to be less afraid of flogging), you say the wronged will feel more satisfied with the punishment (but they should view it as a lesser punishment than prison?) and flogging is definitely not humane, modern society is against a teacher hitting a child with a ruler or something. There's no way they would standby flogging as an ethical punishment.
Children are again an evaluation factor. Like I stated above, the details of the crime, victim and criminal should determine what punishment is the best.

You state that if we accept the OP, flogging is preferred by the criminals and therefore, I should not argue against that. That is what is called a petitio principii.

My opinion is (as I mentioned) that depending on the details of the crime, the victim and the criminal, corporeal punishment is either more or less effective than incarceration.

The fact of the matter is that the justice system has a number of functions:
1) Retaliation to satisfy the need for revenged of the victims and of the society as a whole.
2) Deterrence for the criminal and future criminals.
3) Preventing people from choosing their own directions (instead of letting the state punish criminals)
4) Rehabilitating and education the criminal.
5) Making the society more safe and secure.

Corporeal punishments do serve points 1 and 2 more than more human punishments. A severe beating for small crimes is a great deterrence. And, the victims normally feel angry, creating a desire to hurt the criminal. Seeing the criminal getting hurt satisfies that demand. Both also translate into points 4 and 5. But only to a minor degree. In many cases incarceration serves 4 and 5 more, in my opinion. Point 3 depends mostly on the severity and type of the crime, in my opinion.
If you disagree with OP and flogging is actually less desirable and more extreme than prison/alternative punishments, okay but it's still just a violent punishment with no positives. I'd also rather go to prison than have my hand chopped off but that doesn't make chopping off my hand a better punishment. You've agreed with my previous statement so there's no need for me to explain why to you, I assume.
No, I agree with it. I try to nuance though. Which is why I think the OP is incredibly interesting. Because I do not think it is black and white.

@

User avatar
Arjen
Posts: 103
Joined: January 16th, 2019, 4:53 am
Favorite Philosopher: Immanuel Kant

Re: In Defense of Flogging

Post by Arjen » January 21st, 2019, 6:23 am

Eduk wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 5:34 am
@Arjen I was wondering why you believe this
I mean what life experiences do you have with the criminal justice system which might lead you to believe your lists are exhaustive and accurate? To me it reads like some guy with zero experience in prisons writing down their first thoughts on a subject they know nothing about?
Can I ask what you do professionally? Do you think I could write intelligently about it?
I clearly say that the lists are not complete, nor exhaustive. I have studied philosophy at the university of Utrecht. I am not some kind of authority in any kind of prison- or justice system.

Post Reply