Food for Thought: “Pre-punishment - Desert and Deterrence Theories”

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Presenter:  Dr. John William

Date: Apr 05, 2017

Time: 11:30am to 12:30pm

Contact person:  LEBA Research
T: 8946 6156

Location:  CDU, Casuarina Campus- Blue 5.1.01 Theatre Room


I describe a fantastic example in which the authorities punish someone for a crime that they are 99% certain he will commit. Most of us will judge this to be morally wrong. I consider arguments for this judgment that are available to a ‘desert-theorist’, as well as those that are available to a ‘deterrence-theorist’. All the good arguments available to the deterrence-theorist are parasitic upon those available to the desert-theorist. So in my fantastic example, the desert-theorist has the better justification of punishment. Thus the desert-theorist has the better justification of punishment in general, in ordinary non-fantastic circumstances.

Dr. John William

Research Fellow

John N. Williams (PhD Hull) works primarily in epistemology. He also works in philosophy of language and applied ethics. He has published in Acta AnalyticaAmerican Philosophical QuarterlyAnalysis, Australasian Journal of PhilosophyJournal of Philosophical ResearchJournal of PhilosophyPhilosophy East and WestMind, PhilosophiaPhilosophical Studies, Religious StudiesSocial Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, Synthese and Theoria. He is co-editor of Moore’s Paradox: New Essays on Belief, Rationality and the First Person, Oxford University Press together with Mitchell Green. He researches and teaches in the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University.  

RSVP by Monday 5pm 3rd April 2017 via Outlook or email
Nibbles will be provided upon receipt of an RSVP