It is a common moral conviction that it is better to let many guilty people go free than to wrongly imprison a single innocent person. My understanding is that this principle underlies the presumption of innocence in criminal trials. I can see that this strikes us as profoundly right, but I'm not sure why. I mean, off the top of my head it seems fairly easy to refute it along a crudely utilitarian line: all we need is to suppose that the guilty parties are liable to do harm enough to outweigh the suffering of the wrongly imprisoned innocent party.
Hello. I wanted to ask about revenge. (1) Is there anything morally wrong with taking revenge? (2) If the urge to take revenge is a genetic instinct (and surely, it's quite plausible that it might be), why should it have less moral authority than any other feeling about right and wrong? The background to this question is that, while there's no explicit eye-for-an-eye in the laws of most contemporary societies, usually judges take community expectations and appropriate punishment into account when sentencing, and not just factors like legal requirements, precedence, rehabilitation and deterrence -- so revenge is arguably still very much a part of modern law.
Would it be better to have set punishments for crimes (Ex. murder = 20 years imprisonment no matter the circumstances) or to have the punishments be defined with the individual that caused it? Would it also be better for punishments to be more "aggressive" than needed (Ex. littering = 5 years imprisonment)
Is the following behavior moral :
1. I was robbed when I was 14 and 15 on the streets. It was only a few dollars and they only involved verbal threats and no physical violence but it was somewhat traumatic. I didn't report to the police because for whatever reason I can't still understand. Probably there was (1) a certain mistrust of the police's ability to catch such criminals and (2) not wanting to bother with the hassle of dealing with police work -- for certainly parents would be involved in a teenager's case, and my parents were busy people -- for what was so little money, and (3) the minimization of the potential effects of such a traumatic emotional experience; I was brought up to act manly and powerful, and "telling" seemed like weakness(why I don't know).
2. 15 years has passed and I want to find them and make them pay for the emotional trauma that I had to suffer for a long time afterwards. I still lack basic trust between people and so forth.
Is this moral? I.e. is the attempt at...
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