Punishment and the Moral Emotions: Essays in Law, Morality, and Religion

Punishment and the Moral Emotions: Essays in Law, Morality, and Religion

Punishment and the Moral Emotions: Essays in Law, Morality, and Religion

Punishment and the Moral Emotions: Essays in Law, Morality, and Religion

Synopsis

This collection of essays presents Jeffrie G. Murphy''s most recent ideas on punishment, forgiveness, and the emotions of resentment, shame, guilt, remorse, love, and jealousy. In Murphy''s view, conscious rationales of principle -- such as crime control or giving others what in justice they deserve -- do not always drive our decisions to punish or condemn others for wrongdoing. Sometimes our decisions are in fact driven by powerful and rather base emotions such as malice, spite, envy, and cruelty. But our decisions to punish or condemn can also be driven by noble emotions. Indeed, if we punish to express the justified resentment and indignation that decent people feel toward the wronging of a human being, punishment and condemnation can be seen acts of love.
Once we realize the vital roles that emotions can play in punishment and other forms of condemnation, we can explore them in a variety of important ways. Jealousy sometimes causes crimes, forgiveness allows us to overcome resentment, and mercy - inspired by compassion-- limits the severity of punishment. All these emotions may be called "moral emotions"-meaning simply that they are emotions that essentially involve a moral belief.
The essays in this collection explore, from philosophical and religious perspectives, a variety of moral emotions and their relationship to punishment and condemnation or to decisions to lessen punishment or condemnation. Those interested in ethics, philosophy of law, and the nature and role of the emotions, will find much of interest in these essays by this highly distinguished scholar.
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