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Should corporal punishment be allowed?
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Corporal punishment hinders emotional understanding

In choosing corporal punishment, the authority figure makes no effort to understand the motives and emotions behind a person’s actions. For this reason, it is a superficial punishment that damages emotional wellbeing.


Society functions best when authority figures attempt to emotionally understand their subordinates. The good parent understands the child’s emotional space. The teacher understands the reason behind their student’s misbehaviour, and the boss understands the employee's sub-par performance. Corporal punishment hinders this understanding.

The Argument

When corporal punishment is administered, no attempt is made to understand the emotional factors that went into the transgressive behaviour. The student, child, or lawbreaker is simply told that the behaviour they exhibited is unacceptable. This message is reinforced through bodily pain. However, this does nothing to address the underlying causes of that behaviour. Without addressing these causes the person is likely to exhibit the same behaviour again. Instead of corporal punishment, attempts must be made to improve the emotional understanding behind a transgression.

Counter arguments

We don't necessarily need an emotional understanding of bad behaviour to correct it. If a dog eats its food when it has been told to "leave" it and it receives a hit on the nose, it will modify its behaviour. This behavioural modification wasn't induced by a deep emotional understanding of the reasons why the dog chose to ignore its instructions, or by an emotional understanding within the dog for the reasons why it wasn't allowed to eat the food. Demonstrating that this action, will invoke this painful response is sufficient for maintaining law and order.



[P1] To correct bad behaviour, we need to understand the emotional causes of it. [P2] Corporal punishment limits our ability to emotionally understand. [P3] Therefore, corporal punishment should not be allowed.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] We don't need to understand the emotional causes of bad behaviour to correct it.


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020 at 15:40 UTC

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