Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Punishment is not a strict requirement of justice

There is no strict duty to reward a person who has done a supererogatory thing. Otherwise, engaging in generosity would be a way of imposing a duty on others.

But punishment is the flip side of reward. Hence, there is no strict duty to punish a person who has done a wrong.

Of course, supererogatory action makes a reward fitting, and likewise wrong action makes a punishment fitting. But in neither case is the retributive response strictly required by justice.

2 comments:

Aristion said...

Interesting argument, but is God not obligated to punish evildoers?

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't think so.