Punishment and the Moral Emotions: Essays in Law, Morality, and Religion

Jeffrie Murphy

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    30 Scopus citations


    This book presents the author's most recent ideas on punishment, forgiveness, and the emotions of resentment, shame, guilt, remorse, love, and jealousy. In the author's view, conscious rationales of principle-such as crime control or giving others what in justice they deserve-do not always drive our decisions to punish or condemn others for wrongdoing. Sometimes our decisions are in fact driven by powerful and rather base emotions such as malice, spite, envy, and cruelty. But our decisions to punish or condemn can also be driven by noble emotions. Indeed, if we punish to express the justified resentment and indignation that decent people feel toward the wronging of a human being, punishment and condemnation can be seen as acts of love. Once we realize the vital roles that emotions can play in punishment and other forms of condemnation, we can explore them in a variety of important ways. Jealousy sometimes causes crimes, forgiveness allows us to overcome resentment, and mercy-inspired by compassion-limits the severity of punishment. All these emotions may be called "moral emotions"-meaning simply that they are emotions that essentially involve a moral belief. The chapters explore, from philosophical and religious perspectives, a variety of moral emotions and their relationship to punishment and condemnation or to decisions to lessen punishment or condemnation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages352
    ISBN (Print)9780190267575, 9780199764396
    StatePublished - May 27 2015


    • Condemnation
    • Forgiveness
    • Guilt
    • Jealousy
    • Love
    • Moral emotions
    • Punishment
    • Remorse
    • Resentment
    • Shame

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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