The Injustice of Punishment emphasizes that we can never make sense of moral responsibility while also acknowledging that punishment is sometimes unavoidable. Recognizing both the injustice and the necessity of punishment is painful but also beneficial. It motivates us to find effective means of minimizing both the use and severity of punishment, and encourages deeper inquiry into the causes of destructive behavior and how to change those causes in order to reduce the need for punishment. There is an emerging alternative to the comfortable but destructive system of moral responsibility and just deserts. That alternative is not the creation of philosophers but of sociologists, criminologists, psychologists, and workplace engineers; it was developed, tested, and employed in factories, prisons, hospitals, and other settings; and it is writ large in the practices of cultures that minimize belief in individual moral responsibility. The alternative marks a promising path to less punishment, less coercive control, deeper common commitment, and more genuine freedom.
Table of Contents
1. Beyond the Moral Responsibility System
2. The Unjust Necessity of Punishment
3. Tychonic Moral Responsibility
4. The Strike-Back Roots of Retributive Justice
5. A Just World, Moral Responsibility, and the Justice of Punishment
6. Does Denying Moral Responsibility Threaten Dignity, Rights, and Innocence?
7. Empirical Examination of Moral Responsibility
8. How Does Belief in Moral Responsibility Undermine Personal Dignity?
9. Efforts to Make Punishment Just
10. Is Therapy an Alternative?
11. The No-Blame Systems Model
12. No Limits on No-Blame
13. A Universal No-Blame System
Bruce N. Waller is professor of philosophy at Youngstown State University. He is the author or editor of fourteen books, including Against Moral Responsibility (2011) and The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility (2015), as well as numerous journal articles.