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He wrote that long-term imprisonment and perpetual slavery, or banishment, were more effective deterrents. Cesare Beccaria was an Italian philosopher and thinker who lived during the 18th century. The text forwarded the idea of social contract, which is the belief that the government exists solely to serve the people, and the people are the source of the government's political power.It also promoted utilitarianism, which is the belief that the government should only legislate in ways that provide the greatest public good.
This means the people can choose to give or restrict governmental power. Beccaria claimed that criminal punishment was only justified in order to further the social contract.
For this reason, he classified treason as the most serious crime because it violates the social contract. Utilitarianism piggybacks on the social contract theory and refers to the belief that the government should only legislate in ways that provide the greatest public good.
In a nutshell, Beccaria believed people commit crimes because they freely make choices in their own self-interest.
These choices sometimes conflict with the interests of society.
Because many of the criminal choices can be anticipated, society should take measures to manipulate and discourage those choices.
Society could discourage the choices by setting criminal punishments severe enough to keep people from choosing to commit crimes.
This is an important philosophical theory that was more fully developed through the later works of Jeremy Bentham.
Using utilitarianism, Beccaria claimed that criminal punishment should be practical and useful to the people.
Cesare Beccaria was an Italian philosopher and thinker who lived during the 18th century.
He belonged to an intellectual circle known as The Academy of Fists.