Episode 6 – Forgive or Punish?
Interviewees Luke Russell, John Tasioulas and Mick Dodson show how punishment can be a form of communication and examine if there is ever an unforgivable act.
This episode focusses on the ethical issues arising from punishment and forgiveness. It considers whether resentment or anger have an ethically positive role to play when responding to wrong-doing, and whether forgiveness should have limits. Through a case-study of holocaust survivors the episode explores the psychological burdens and benefits of forgiveness. It also considers the ethical justifications for institutionalised (state) punishments and the communicative purpose of the criminal justice and gaol systems.
Links to Ethical Capability
• Investigate why ethical principles may differ between people and groups, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU015)
• Explore a range of ethical problems and examine the extent to which different positions are related to commonly held ethical concepts and principles, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU020)
• Distinguish between the ethical and non-ethical dimensions of complex issues, including the distinction between ethical and legal issues (VCECU021)
Civics & Citizenship
VCE Legal Studies (Units 2&3)
HSC Legal Studies
Questions and discussion points
- Is forgiveness always the ‘good’ or ‘right’ response to being wronged?
- Are any wrongs unforgivable? What do we mean by ‘unforgivable’?
- Should society continue to punish people even after the person they harmed has forgiven them?