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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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The Punisher's Brain: An Evolutionary History of Judge and Jury

ISBN13: 9781107038066
Published: June 2014
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £22.99

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This book examines the evolutionary roots of punishment, tracing their presence across history and using them to suggest legal reforms. We evolved to cooperate - albeit grudgingly - with each other, especially along two lines: theft (not stealing the property or well-being of others) and trust (keeping our promises).

Punishment made stealing and breaching sufficiently expensive to permit enough cooperation for our intensely social species to survive and flourish. But punishment was also costly, because of both the risk of a violent response and the potential loss of a group member.

We therefore also evolved a deep reticence to punish, and an urge to forgive when the wrongdoer caused minimal harm or, even after causing great harm, gave reliable signals he or she could be trusted to return to the fold. These urges to blame, forgive, and punish formed an evolutionary template on which all our modern punishing institutions have been built.

Legal History
1. The most original of original sins
2. Detecting and blaming
3. First-party punishment: conscience and guilt
4. Second-party punishment: retaliation and revenge
5. Third-party punishment: retribution
6. Forgiveness and its signals
7. Delegating punishment
8. Legal dissonances
9. Evaluating some process dissonances
10. Into the gap: evaluating some substantive dissonances
11. Brains punishing brains.

Series: Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society

£68.00 + £13.60 VAT