Plato's Cave - The Orlando Philosophy Meetup Group Message Board › Punishment as next talk.

Punishment as next talk. Behavioral Psychology talks about reward and punishment. Here is a free PDF from BF Skinner.

amanda m.
user 10486702
Orlando, FL
Post #: 28
http://www.bfskinner....­ The best thing is that it is free. So very little aversive consequences from downloading and perusing it. (Okay, so I had one graduate course from a BFSkinner schooled behavioral psychologist)
amanda m.
user 10486702
Orlando, FL
Post #: 29
Plato was for capital punishment in the cases of certain crimes. For example:-


Athenian Stranger:- " For no offense whatsoever shall any man be made a hopeless outlaw, not even though he have/(has) fled beyond our borders. DEATH, prison, stripes (i.e. flogging/whipping), ignominious postures of sitting or standing, or exposure at sanctuaries on the frontier, fines, in cases where, as we have said, their payment is a proper sentence --- these shall be our PENALITIES. In a case of LIFE and DEATH the judges shall be curators of law acting together with the court selected for merit from the magistrates of the preceding year. " [Laws Book IX 855c - 855d].

So Plato did believe in the "DEATH ... PENALTY", as above mentioned, in THE LAWS. And a "death penalty" is otherwise known as "capital punishment". For further certainty

Athenian Stranger:- Any man of worth, however slight, must reveal the matter to the magistrate by bringing the plotter to trial for revolutionary and illegal violence. The judges in the case shall be the same as in those of sacrilege [trials KB], and their whole procedure shall follow the same rule --- DEATH to be inflicted by [as a consequence of? KB] a majority of their sentences. But once for all, in no case shall a father's disgrace or sentence descend to his children, save only when father, grandfather, great-grandfather have all, without break, incurred JUDGMENT OF DEATH [Laws, Book IX; 856c - 856d]

So the offences of sacrilege and treason were DEATH PENALTY or "capital offence" cases in Plato's Laws.

Personally speaking, even "lofty Greeks" like Plato, were very practical people. Their entire States, like Athens, Crete and Sparta [of which the 3 elderly dialogue partners of Plato's Laws were citizens] were "city sized" (and small cities too) by our standards. Most everyone knew everyone else by either firsthand (direct acquaintance) or close 2nd hand knowledge (a trusted relative or friend would know any person with whom one was unacquainted). And such small STATES were the only things that stood between the citizens of such states and either death from, or enslavement by, the governments of much larger and more powerful "mega-states/tyrannies" as the Persian (most relevant in Plato's time) or Egyptian Empires --- or even other Greek states/persons.

So treason was a capital offence, given that the "overthrow" of any small Greek city-state meant either death or slavery to/for the majority of that state's citizens. And the ancient Greeks were also far more familiar with the fact that everyone, whether law abiding or law breaking, inevitably gets the death penalty. People died in their own homes --- ambulances didn't take them away to hospitals and then to embalmers and morticians if the hospital professionals were "unsuccessful" in bringing about cures. So ancient Greeks, like Plato, were far more familiar with death in both old and young people given the relatively primitive state of medicine/medical-care over 2000 years ago. Thus Socrates could SERIOUSLY ASK whether or not DEATH might not be a "great blessing", at his age of 70 years, as opposed to anything remotely resembling something to be "feared" at his venerable age of 70, where everything was going "down hill" more quickly at his age.

Thus Plato says "No man shall be made a hopeless outlaw!" even though DEATH was one of his mentioned sentences. So even in death, Plato thought there was some "hope" for those who were capitally punished, which reflects Plato's belief in the immortality of human souls.
amanda m.
user 10486702
Orlando, FL
Post #: 30
I am newly exposed to "those who run us." It requires me to very often consider matters of justice. The ultimate endpoint of a system of justice is killing someone. But killing the soul with 3 strikes laws is astounding and we have more people incarcerated than any other country. More black men are in prison than were in slavery before the civil war. So, what is punishment? Are we merely "correcting" bad behavior? Or is it retribution? Blacks in Winter Park get pulled over at twice the rate of whites. What responsibility does each of us have for punishment in our culture? Do we even admit it when we do things in our own lives that are meant to be 'aversive' to others or do we just hide it from ourselves? Do we contemplate as adults the full responsibility for our actions and the actions of happenings even in our own backyard?

Ben Forbes G.
Kissimmee, FL
Post #: 241
Great ethical and neuropsychological topic idea! I say set a date at Austin's. I'm definitely interested in attending. biggrin
Jairo M.
Winter Park, FL
Post #: 1,469
Yes, sounds good for a meetup. I would suspect many thinkers here have opinions and ideas to contribute to Reward and Punishment.
Question: Is capital punishment really a punishment? If one takes the premise that there is no "life" after death, then the criminal has escaped punishment by execution. There may be some punishment involved in the waiting for the day of execution, hopefully the person captured and convicted and found guilty is the one who truely committed the crime, and so the perpetrator may have some time to ponder and come to regret the action, still that doesn't seem to be enought to pay for the crime. And what about the brief pain caused by the swift moment of the axe or the quillotine slicing off the head, or whatever other humane form of slaughter used? What is the philosophy behind capital punishment? I suspect it has to do more with deterance than with punishment and paying for the crime. And sometimes to satisfy the thirst for revenge and for "closure" for the family of the one(s) who were killed.

Another related queston: Now what happens to the one who after committing a heinous crime, commits suicide, how is that "soul" or consciousness brought to justice? Is there the possibility that there is such thing as karma and that the laws of universe will eventually bring about a justice or balance so that the crime does get paid?


Jairo M.
Winter Park, FL
Post #: 1,475
Listen to a lecture given by BF Skinner. Part 1 of 7

A former member
Post #: 12
Very cool topic. I am a new member and would love to go! However I've got a guest the 2nd and 4th weekends in March. I would definitely sign up for other weekends though-
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