Punishment FAQs:


Q: Is punishment the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual?

A: Yes, and meted out by an authority—in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal law—as a response and deterrent to a particular action or behaviour that is deemed undesirable or unacceptable.

Q: Are punishments to diminish the perceived need for retaliatory "street justice"?

A: Yes, and blood feud and vigilantism.

Q: Is punishment intended to be sufficient that people would choose not to commit the crime rather than experience the punishment?

A: Yes.

Q: Is punishment only determined after the fact by the reduction in behavior?

A: Yes, if the offending behavior of the subject does not decrease, it is not considered punishment.

Q: Is punishment the reduction of a behavior via application of an unpleasant stimulus or removal of a pleasant stimulus?

A: Yes, Extra chores or spanking are examples of positive punishment, while removing an offending student's recess or play privileges are examples of negative punishment.

Q: Are punishments applied for various purposes?

A: Yes, and most generally, to encourage and enforce proper behavior as defined by society or family.

Q: Is punishment simply wrong, of the same design as "two wrongs make a right"?

A: Yes, Critics argue that punishment is simply revenge.

Q: Is punishment that it is a measure to prevent people from committing an offence - deterring previous offenders from re-offending?

A: Yes, and preventing those who may be contemplating an offence they have not committed from actually committing it.

Q: Is punishment being sent by God?

A: Yes, and the highest authority, to an existence in Hell, a place believed to exist in the After-life, typically corresponds to sins committed during their life.

Q: Is punishment present?

A: Yes, and descriptions other than "punishment" may be considered more accurate.

Q: Is punishment sometimes called retaliatory or moralistic aggression?

A: Yes, it has been observed in all species of social animals, leading evolutionary biologists to conclude that it is an evolutionarily stable strategy, selected because it favors cooperative behavior.