a. Culpability - This is the level to which an individual is responsible for a crime, there are four levels of culpability in the law: purposely, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently.
b. Hedonism - Pleasure seeking and avoiding pain. In Beccaria's classical theory of crime, he posits that all individuals are hedonistic, and commit crimes in order to give themselves pleasurable experiences, ex: Stealing candy because it tastes good.
c. Mens rea - Criminal intent, it translated to “Guilty Mind”. In order to be found guilty of a crime you need bot mens rea and actus reas, which is “guilty act”.
d. Mitigating circumstances - Circumstances, that while they do not excuse the crime, they are concerned in order to determine the punishment. These are circumstances that lessen the severity of the crime. The opposite of a mitigating circumstance is an aggravating circumstance, which will increase the severity of the crime.
e. Demonology - This is an old theory of crime that individuals who commit crime are possessed by evil spirits that cause them to commit the crime.
This is an argument that debates free will vs a predetermined set of behaviors. Hard determinism (external determinism) is the idea that individuals’ behaviors are created by outside, uncontrollable circumstances, such as biology, or the environment they are in. Soft determinism (Internal determinism) is the idea that individuals act out of their own free will.
Individuals who believe in hard determinism believe that there is less moral culpability for individual who commit crimes because they are not acting on their own but by a predetermined set of behaviors. Those who believe in soft determinism believe that people have free will, and therefore there is increased moral culpability because they are acting out of their own free will and have made the decision to commit the crimes.
Internal determinism (soft determinism) believes that individuals behaviors are controlled internally, (internal locus of control) and therefore they have control of their own actions, there is not outside forces that dictate their behaviors. Those who believe in external determinism (Hard determinism/ external locus of control) believe that people do not have free will and instead their behaviors are dictated through external forces (biology/environment/laws of nature).
Well, accepting soft determinism, and reject determinism, that would increase moral culpability, as it believes that individuals commit crimes based on their own free will. This would increase the individual’s culpability because they have an actus reas as well as a mens rea because they committed the crime with intend and motivation. This means that punishing an individual is more just because it is punishing them for a choice they made of their own free will. When punishing an individual, you deter them from future crimes because people are hedonistic, and they want to prevent themselves from pain.
If you accept hard determinism, it will act as a mitigating factor, and reduce culpability because they would not have a mens rea because they acted not of their own free will but based on the influence of outside factors. This belief causes an issue with the morality of punishment because our justice system is based on the idea that individuals have free will, and are acting on their own accord, but punishing an individual when the act was not created through free will is unjust, which is why we do have mitigating and aggravating factors taken into consideration in our court systems.