Classifying Reactions to Wrongdoing: Taxonomies of Misdeeds, Sanctions, and Aims of Sanctions

By R. Murray Thomas | Go to book overview

Since this book represents the first publication of the taxonomy described in these pages, the scheme can make no claim of popularity.


FUNCTIONS OF TAXONOMIES

Every classification system shares certain general purposes with all others, while at the same time serving other functions that are entirely its own. The most obvious general purpose is that of categorizing objects or events so that individuals and groups can be readily compared and contrasted with each other. Animal species in Australia can be compared with those in North America. The body types of indigenous East Asians can be compared with those of Subsahara Africans. Mental disorders among adolescents can be contrasted to disorders among the elderly. Crimes committed by males can be compared to those committed by females.

Such comparisons can aid researchers in their tasks of (1) assessing the kinds and extent of similarities among individuals and groups, (2) applying descriptive identification labels to groups, and (3) generating and testing hypotheses about the causes of observed likenesses and differences among individuals and groups. In addition to thus aiding researchers, classification schemes can also further the educational purpose of helping learners comprehend a field of interest by furnishing them with a system of categories to serve as lenses for interpreting events from the realm embraced by the particular taxonomy.

More specific applications of the three-part classification scheme described in this volume are proposed in chapter 9.


CONCLUSION

The aim of this chapter has been to identity typical characteristics of classification systems as a way of displaying the principal features of the scheme described in this book and of illustrating how those features compare with the characteristics of several other systems.

The following chapters describe the aims-and-sanction taxonomy in detail. Chapter 2 explains a multidimensional plan for classifying instances of wrongdoing. Next, chapter 3 presents that multidimensional plan in a brief outline form that can be readily used for categorizing misdeeds. Chapter 4 offers a conception of the reasoning process in which people likely engage when they generate sanctions or treatments they believe should assigned to wrongdoers. I am presuming that such a reasoning process determines which aims and sanctions an individual will recommend for a given instance of misconduct. Chapter 5 presents in some detail a rationale for every taxon of the aims classification scheme. A typical rationale includes a taxon label, a definition of the category, examples of events that qualify for inclusion in that category, and occasional mention of historical trends and philosophical backgrounds of a class

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Classifying Reactions to Wrongdoing: Taxonomies of Misdeeds, Sanctions, and Aims of Sanctions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles In Contributions in Psychology ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1- Characteristics of Taxonomies 1
  • Conclusion 18
  • 2- Conceptualizing Wrongdoing 21
  • Conclusion 48
  • 3- Classifying Misdeeds 49
  • Conclusion 53
  • 4- Modes of Reasoning About Aims and Sanctions 55
  • Conclusion 76
  • 5- Foundations of an Aims Taxonomy 77
  • Conclusion 113
  • 6- Types of Aims 115
  • Conclusion 126
  • 7- Foundations of a Sanctions Taxonomy 127
  • Conclusion 178
  • 8: Types of Sanctions 179
  • 9- Applications 193
  • Conclusion 201
  • References 203
  • Index 211
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