Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Resistance to Crimes

The moral principle demands real resistance to crimes, and determines this resistance (or punishment in the wide sense of the term, as distinct from the idea of retribution) as a rightful means of active pity, legally and forcibly limiting the external expressions of evil will, not merely for the sake of the safety of the peaceful members of society, but also in the interests of the criminal himself. Thus the true conception of punishment is many-sided, but each aspect is equally conditioned by the universal moral principle of pity, which includes both the injured and the injurer.

The victim of a crime has a right to protection and, as far as possible, to compensation; society has a right to safety; the criminal has a right to correction and reformation. Resistance to crimes that is to be consistent with the moral principle must realize or, at any rate, aim at an equal realization of those three rights.

[Vladimir Soloviev, The Justification of the Good, von Peters, ed. Catholic Resources (Chattanooga, TN: 2015), p. 345.]

Soloviev is very down on retributive theories of punishment, but a version of this point, at least, is a standard part of classical retributive theory, in large part due to the influence of Platonism, with which Soloviev's account of punishment has much in common.

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