Law and Philosophy

, 30:353 | Cite as

Hard Determinism and Punishment: A Practical Reductio

  • Saul SmilanskyEmail author


How can hard determinism deal with the need to punish, when coupled with the obligation to be just? I argue that even though hard determinists might find it morally permissible to incarcerate wrongdoers apart from lawful society, they are committed to the punishment’s taking a very different form from common practice in contemporary Western societies. Hard determinists are in fact committed to what I will call funishment, instead of punishment. But, by its nature funishment is a practical reductio of hard determinism: it makes implementing hard determinism impossible to contemplate. Indeed, the social practices that hard determinism requires turn out to be morally bad even according to hard determinism itself. I conclude by briefly reflecting upon the implications.


Moral Responsibility Free Action Lawful Society Strict Liability Moral Position 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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