Getting Even: The Role of the Victim: JEFFRIE G. MURPHY

Social Philosophy and Policy 7 (2):209-225 (1990)

Authors
Jeffrie Murphy
Arizona State University
Abstract
Achilles is vindictive; he wants to get even with Agamemnon. Being so disposed, he sounds rather like many current crime victims who angrily complain that the American system of criminal justice will not allow them the satisfactions they rightfully seek. These victims often feel that their particular injuries are ignored while the system addresses itself to some abstract injury to the state or to the rule of law itself – a focus that appears to result in wrongdoers being treated with much greater solicitation and respect than their victims receive. If the actual victims are noticed at all, they will likely be told that there is another branch of law – tort law – that has the job of dealing with private injuries and grievances and that, if they pursue this route at their own expense, they might ultimately get some financial compensation for the wrongs done to them. However, just as Achilles felt that mere compensation was inadequate to the kind of injury done to him by Agamemnon, many of these victims will often claim that the injuries they have suffered do not admit of financial compensation. How, they might ask, can a dollar value be set on the humiliation and degradation they have experienced? They might also note that those who injure them tend, unlike Agamemnon, to be judgment-proof – so lacking in resources as to be unable to make any meaningful contribution to any compensation package that the victim may win.
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DOI 10.1017/S0265052500000832
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Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 43 (3):578-578.

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