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Author Topic: The Grey Area  (Read 1813 times)

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Offline Asuras

Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2010, 08:55:37 PM »
But would you go that far?

Given that you want to kill someone, you're going pretty far. Given the punishment for murder (decades in prison), I'd say that losing all of my memories is a fair deal for an acquittal.

Offline Fae BrinTopic starter

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Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2010, 08:59:06 PM »
I suppose.

And this will sound weird, but-- taking that extra step-- purposely wiping your memory-- that takes the crime a step further.

But-- I still compare jail to a time out to a child. They are put in time out to think of what they've done. The purpose is to show them they've done something wrong and they should not do it again.

On a vaguely related note-- it takes a lot of money to keep someone in jail. If the purpose of jail is not being fulfilled-- what is the point?

Offline Asuras

Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2010, 09:07:33 PM »
I suppose.

And this will sound weird, but-- taking that extra step-- purposely wiping your memory-- that takes the crime a step further.

It does take it a step further, but from the argument here - which is that a mind that is tabula rasa is inherently innocent - it's the same.

And frankly I should find it rather peculiar that intentionally blanking my memory rather than having it happening accidentally should affect my guilt.

But-- I still compare jail to a time out to a child. They are put in time out to think of what they've done. The purpose is to show them they've done something wrong and they should not do it again.

On a vaguely related note-- it takes a lot of money to keep someone in jail. If the purpose of jail is not being fulfilled-- what is the point?

I also question how deterrent imprisonment is, but...the question in this thread is not about the method of punishment but whether or not the criminal merits punishment of whatever sort.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2010, 09:09:13 PM »
Jail has two purposes.  One is the one you mentioned, but the other is to protect society from those who commit a crime and have no compunction against committing the crime again.  Ted Bundy, for example.  If someone goes to the lengths that Asuras suggested (which would require a premeditation of wiping the memory so as to avoid punishment), then they have zero remorse, and need to be locked up.

I still think that the place for an accidental amnesiac is going to be some form of asylum.  Presumably, there would have been more evidence for conviction than the person's own memories (which couldn't be used in court anyways, under the grounds of self-incrimination).  I would probably allow for the possibility of parole, if I were the sentencing judge.

Offline Fae BrinTopic starter

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Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2010, 09:12:26 PM »
Because it makes you even more evil.


Well-- I would argue that it's very deterential-- that's not a word but it suits my sentence. Of course-- I don't think it would really work for those truly sick (ill) people.


Mm, yes. Deterrence and Protection. But we are operating under the notion that he is a tabula rasa, and so the chance of his re-committing are slim to none, and the deterrence factor would be moot.

Offline Asuras

Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2010, 09:20:10 PM »
Because it makes you even more evil.

Yeah except that the point here (if I understand it) is whether the defendant at trial is guilty, or even worthy of standing trial. The man that blanks his mind intentionally is exactly the same as the one that suffers it accidentally, right? So these two men, at that point, are both equally evil and guilty at that point, at least as regards to their memories and personality?

Well-- I would argue that it's very deterential-- that's not a word but it suits my sentence. Of course-- I don't think it would really work for those truly sick (ill) people.

For whom we have a disgustingly inadequate health system for their rehabilitation that I know personally.

Mm, yes. Deterrence and Protection. But we are operating under the notion that he is a tabula rasa, and so the chance of his re-committing are slim to none, and the deterrence factor would be moot.

Again, if it's possible for me to blank my memories after committing a crime, and I get under this "tabula rasa" defense, I can commit a crime without being punished. We must deter such behavior which is why the "tabula rasa" defense is bad law.

Offline Jude

Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2010, 09:59:52 PM »
In terms of utilitarian ethics (and legal/practical point of view) I'd say he needs to be punished anyway.  It sets a dangerous precedent if you allow people to escape punishment if they seem to have suffered memory loss.  We can't really distinguish between actual memory loss and feigned memory loss that I'm aware of.  The bigger picture begs for the individual to be punished regardless.

It's pretty clear that letting people off the hook gets especially dangerous if the loss is due to a psychological condition and not physical damage.  There is also the chance that the memory loss is reversible, which means they're only rendered "temporarily benign."

To me, the purpose of prison isn't just reformation.  The presence of that impending punishment sets up this ordered world we live in.  The average person can live with their mind at ease knowing that if someone wrongs them they will pay for their crimes, the deterrent effect isn't just a tangible benefit, but it creates peace of mind.  Every time we add an exception we chip away at that.

I guess I'm OK with an individual being punished who doesn't understand why because they've lost their memory as long as it's not unduly cruel, they're educated on what happened with all of the available evidence during their incarceration, and they undergo the same rehabilitation processes as anyone does -- plus they should be open to parole, given a little special treatment, and let out early if their story is corroborated by their actions and behavior during their imprisonment.

Then again, I really believe in rehabilitation and think a lot of our punishments for criminals are far too harsh.  20 years in prison for a crime of passion just doesn't add up to justice for me; what good is it doing anyone if it's clear the person isn't going to kill again?

Offline Fae BrinTopic starter

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Re: The Grey Area
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2010, 10:29:47 PM »
Mm, well-- I think we've analyzed the hell out of this.

I didn't really have a particular stance-- I was mostly taking the opposite side for argument's sake. I do like how Jude has put his side of the argument.

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who participated, I appreciate it very much.