A Cute Argument

From Joel Feinberg: we should punish crimes entirely based on blameworthiness, rather than utilitarian results, so we should abolish the distinction between attempted crime and crime. My rather insignificant objection is that failure to succeed is a good heuristic for judging intent. Surely a person who strongly intends to kill, to take one example, will be more motivated and interested in planning an effective way of killing his victim. Where one attempt fails, he will try again, and should it occur to him, he will pick a more deadly method in the first place. Even if the only criterion is blameworthiness, surely it’s more blameworthy to knowingly take reliable steps towards killing a person than to merely will their death and take useless measures towards causing it.

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