I’m working on a philosophy discussion question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
Scenario: Pre-emptive Justice
Damn liberals. Chief Inspector Andrews had worked miracles in this city. Murders down 90 percent. Robberies down 80 percent. Street crime down 85 percent. Car theft down 70 percent. But now she was in the dock and all that good work in jeopardy.
Her police authority was the first in the country to implement the newly legalized pre-emptive justice program. Advances in computing and AI now made it possible to predict who would commit what sort of crime in the near future. People could be tested for all sorts of reasons: as part of a random program or on the basis of a specific suspicion. If there were found to be future criminals, then they would be arrested and punished in advance.
Andrews did not think the scheme draconian. In fact, because no crime had been committed at the time of the arrest, sentences were much more lenient. A future murderer would go on an intense program designed to make sure they didn’t go on and kill and would only be released when tests showed they wouldn’t. Often that meant detention of less than a year. Had they been left to actually commit the crime, they would have been looking at life imprisonment and, more importantly, a person would be dead.
But still, these damn liberals protested that you can’t lock someone up for something they didn’t do. Andrews grimaced and wondered how many she could pull in for testing…
Some questions to consider when working on your response:
- Is this scenario possible? Why or why not?
- Suppose it is possible. Is it just? Why or why not?
- This second question should lead you to think carefully through the main justifications for punishment. See if you can distinguish various justifications for punishment and then apply those justifications to the scenario. This is high-level thinking, and it will take effort to make progress on this third question. But making progress here is necessary to provide more than just a “gut” response to the scenario.
So, now please answer these questions: Is Andrews wrong? Is this just? Why or why not? Make a claim and then back it up with an argument.