Sunday, November 6, 2011
At our retributivism conference on Friday, Luis Chiesa pressed the provocative point that we ought to take seriously the possibility of causal determinism and incompatibilism in punishment theory. Taking such views seriously would mean toying with the possibility that there is no free will and therefore no culpability for wrongful acts -- indeed no 'wrongfulness' at all. Luis's argument seems to depend on a prediction about the moral attractiveness of our punishment practices if we accept these possibilities. Agreeing with these possibilities might threaten the whole enterprise of retributivist punishment, along with much else.
I appreciated Luis's learned presentation, though I don't agree with him about these matters. On the other hand, here, finally, is a deterministic finding that I can get behind (h/t Tom Smith).