Skip to content

Precedents, punishments and awards

Sun 13, May 2012

Determinism apart; now I want to write about why the punishments and awards are very important for the society and not just a nonsense cultural tradition.


The standard non-religious western society based moral just says “if someone does a misdeed, he should be punished; if someone does a good deed, he should be awarded”.

A dogmatic argument; let’s rationalize it a little:

“if someone does a misdeed, he should be punished for show him that he’s doing a bad action; if someone does a good deed, he should be awarded for show him that he’s doing a good action

The argument seems philosophically perfect… for a child of 5 years. I see at least two problems:

1st problem: People usually have enough knowledge of the standard non-religious (…) moral for act good; unless they have a reason for do the opposite. So, only a rational argument is enough for show anyone what (do you think) is good and bad; a 5 years old child is not enough rational (most) for understand a rational argument; so, the award/punishment system is the best (and only) way for teach them; but not rational people.

2nd problem: Who decides what is good and what is bad?


Leaving aside the second problem (just a moral dilemma), the first problem is that knowledge can also be taught without any punishment nor award; so that’s not the reason the punishments and awards exist (for rational people). But if we get this part:

“unless they have a reason for do the opposite”

And apply it to the dilemma:

“if someone does a misdeed, he should be punished for show him that he will be punished if he do it again; if someone does a good deed, he should be awarded for show him that he will be awarded if he do it again

The argument seems plausible; the second problem is also present, but the first is not.

Now, let’s see the logic; if they punish you for do something, you won’t want to do it again because of the punishment; unless you have a stronger reason for do the opposite. So, this is about one of my favourite most hated words; precedent.


If you kill someone, you’re doing a bad action; right? (excluding other variables). But what if, while you kill the other person, the other person doesn’t feel anything (even more, the other person ignores that you’re killing him) and after is killed, he resuscitates? You won’t be doing any bad action, because the bad action IS NOT kill; BUT cause pain and destroy the life of other individual.

This is precedent, killing people is as bad as breath, but after you breath no person suffers pain or loses his life; but when you kill is not the case.


This is the reason punishments and awards exists; believe that the award/punishment for an action should be directly proportional to the good/bad produced is as stupid as curse the rain for ruin your laundry.

If a person wasn’t able to decide something, is ridiculous to award or punish him; because other persons in the same situation won’t be able to decide no matter the award/punishment they will receive later. And if a person decided to do a misdeed and now, for some reason, is unable to do it again; he should be punished for show other people in the same situation that they will be punished.


That’s the reason the precedent is both a good way for prevent misdeeds and encourage good deeds while a very unfair and antiethical system of justice.


From → Philosophy

One Comment
  1. Magnesium virker mot stølhet!! NÃ¥ tar jeg tilskudd hver dag, og har kun vært bittelitt støl 1 gang etter at jeg starta med skikkelig styrketrening for en mnd siden. En &l;adoqsjokkuose» pÃ¥ 800-1000 mg kan redusere stølheten fra «kan ikke gÃ¥ i trapper»-nivÃ¥ til «hmm.. jeg klarer da en 30 min gÃ¥tur?»-nivÃ¥. Kjekt Ã¥ vite hvis man skal f.eks pÃ¥ jobb..

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: