Blaming Kids

In Matthew C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook on the Philosophy of Punishment. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 681-702 (2022)
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We can enrich the explanation of how we should treat kid wrongdoers by recognizing that it matters who does the blaming and punishing. That we should think about who does the blaming and punishing is perhaps unsurprising, but it is nonetheless often underappreciated. Here, I offer two lessons about blame and punishment by thinking about who judges kids. First, the right account of moral and legal responsibility should allow that kids may rightly blame each other, and I argue that we can best accommodate this by relativizing the threshold of competence needed for responsibility. Second, although each kid is an individual and, as a result, the implications of immaturity vary signifi- cantly from kid to kid, we should give kids a break as kids, that is, based on our categorizing them as kids. That we should and do categorize in that way reflects the nature of the criminal justice system as an institution and the nature of us as social beings.

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Craig K. Agule
Rutgers University - Camden

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Making sense of freedom and responsibility.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Précis of Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments.R. Jay Wallace - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3):680-681.
Fair Opportunity and Responsibility.David O. Brink - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
Generics: Cognition and acquisition.Sarah-Jane Leslie - 2008 - Philosophical Review 117 (1):1-47.

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