This author presents a convincing epistemic argument against the natural life sentence. I believe a similar argument could be used against the death sentence, which also puts closure on the options of the convicted.
And, actually, I think the author of the Guide would probably agree with the author of this piece: there are a number of reasons for punishment that are irrational. Even though we don't talk about them much, we feel them. A big part of that irrationality stems from the fact that we ignore or forget that people change. That is, those of us who want to punish someone now may later realize we don't need to continue punishing them years later. On the flip side, a punished person may develop a new perspective and seek repentance. With unending punishment, the change in both parties is nullified.
I will make the case for the most part through a personal story. The story starts with a paper I published in 2009 in the Journal of Philosophical Logic, continues with a research project at Stanford and Duke, later with a company called Timeful, and concludes with Timeful being acquired by Google in 2015. The point of the story is there is a direct link between the original journal paper and the ultimate success of the company.
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