Principle of Charity

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Do Criminals Deserve to be Punished?

Season 1, Ep. 13

When someone breaks the law, most of us have an instinct that they should be punished. In fact, that they deserve to be punished. At the base of this is a sense that we are morally responsible for our actions and we should get our ‘just deserts’ if we make bad choices. 


 

This assumption is deeply encoded in the criminal law itself. Sure, there are other reasons we may want to put criminals behind bars – keeping society safe, deterring others from committing the same crime, even rehabilitation. But deep down lies the instinct of ‘retribution’, that a person who has done wrong just deserves to be punished for their wrongdoing. 


 

But why do they? Well, at the root of it is our cherished belief that we have ‘free will’. That we make our decisions freely and that we can choose to act differently. 


 

Our guest Gregg Carusso rejects this idea entirely. He sees free will as an illusion. He asks us to consider a justice system built entirely without retributive justice, where no one is imprisoned because they ‘deserve’ to be punished. Gregg is Professor of Philosophy, State University New York, Corning, Honorary Professor at Sydney’s Macquarie University and Co Director of the Justice Without Retribution Network at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. 

In his latest book Just Deserts, Gregg debates with fellow philosopher Daniel C Dennett moral responsibility, punishment and free will.


 

Our other guest, Katrina Sifferd believes the justice system can and should be grounded in a concept of free will. She shares some concerns with Gregg that the system is at times overly punitive, but believes that we have the capacity to act as morally responsible individuals. In fact, in her book ‘Responsible Brains’, she looks at the neuroscience at work in our brain, and sees our ‘executive function’ as the seat of our moral responsibility. Katrina is professor and chair of philosophy at  Chicago’s Elmurst University and  co editor in chief of the publication Neuro-ethics.  Katrina earned a Juris Doctorate and has worked on criminal justice projects for the US National Institute of Justice.  She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on responsibility, criminal law and punishment.


 

You can be part of the discussion @PofCharity on Twitter, @PrincipleofCharity on Facebook and @PrincipleofCharityPodcast on Instagram.

 

Your hosts are Lloyd Vogelman and Emile Sherman.

 

Find Lloyd @LloydVogelman on Linked in

 

Find Emile @EmileSherman on Linked In and Twitter.

 

This Podcast is Produced by Jonah Primo and Bronwen Reid

 

Find Jonah @JonahPrimomusic on Instagram. 



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5/23/2022

Meditation vs Psychoanalysis: Which Offers the Best Path to Reduce Suffering?

Season 1, Ep. 13
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4/25/2022

Is More Immigration a Good or Bad Thing?

Season 1, Ep. 11
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4/11/2022

Is it OK for Storytellers to Appropriate Stories and Characters from Other Cultures?

Season 1, Ep. 10
Up until not that long ago, storytellers were encouraged to flex their creative muscles, to look outside themselves, and armed with their imagination as well as a lot of research, to bring to life characters, stories and worlds that they didn’t inhabit themselves, often worlds vastly different to the culture they’ve grown up in.But relatively recently, storytellers have received a huge challenge from the progressive left, a challenge that has now permeated the creative arts. It suggests that entering other cultures, particularly marginalised ones, and telling stories of their people, drawing from the well of their cultural reservoir, is akin to an act of theft.The critique goes further than theft though. It includes other challenges: if you’re from a dominant culture, and you’re telling stories of people that your culture has historically colonised or oppressed, then you are effectively compounding the oppression, as you are once again taking their voices and imposing your narrative on theirs.There’s a question of authenticity as well: because you, the writer, are not from their culture, do not have their lived experience, then you can never truly represent them except in an inauthentic and often demeaning way. No matter how much research you do, you’ll at best create a pale imitation of an authentically voiced story, and at worst you’ll create two dimensional, dangerously cliched, even racist caricatures.This is highly complex ground, with issues of creativity, aesthetic merit, theft, caricatures, of power and colonisation, all competing to control the narrative of who has the right to tell stories.Our two guests, Daniel Browning and James O Young, share a great sensitivity to culture, to forms of oppression, and to the power of storytelling. But they’ve come to very different views on cultural appropriation in storytelling.Daniel Browning is an Aboriginal Australian journalist, radio broadcaster, sound artist and writer. He presents The Art Show on Radio National and is the ABC’s Editor of Indigenous Radio. A visual arts graduate, Daniel is also a widely published freelance writer on the arts and culture. Daniel is a descendant of the Bundjalung and Kullilli peoples of far northern New South Wales and south-western Queensland.James O. Young is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria in Canada. He specialises in philosophical issues related to the arts and has written several books including Cultural Appropriation of the Arts (2008). He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2015.~~~~You can be part of the discussion @PofCharity on Twitter, @PrincipleofCharity on Facebook and @PrincipleofCharityPodcast on Instagram.Your hosts are Lloyd Vogelman and Emile Sherman.Find Lloyd @LloydVogelman on Linked inFind Emile @EmileSherman on Linked In and Twitter.This Podcast is Produced by Jonah Primo and Bronwen ReidFind Jonah @JonahPrimomusic on Instagram.