Consoling Fictions

Hyman Gross

in Crime and Punishment

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644711
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738944 | DOI:
Consoling Fictions

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This chapter examines four consoling fictions which make it easier for people of moral sensibility to accept the awful business of crime and punishment. The first of these seeks to soften the idea of punishment and make it easier to evade what is really going on. Then there is the consoling ideal of punishment that fits the crime, a perfect match that comforts us by ensuring that justice is done. Third is the difficulty of cases in which what seems wrong now quite understandably seemed right at the time, and the fiction the law must employ in order to punish what is morally innocent. Finally, there is the dilemma of sympathetic or even empathetic engagement with those who commit a crime and the antidote to such moral engagements provided by the notion of evil.

Keywords: crime; criminal punishment; consolation; law; moral engagements

Chapter.  7746 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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