The most excellent Jihad (fight) is that for the conquest of self

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Introduction to philosophy:

developing Moral Philosophy and Ethical Values

The most excellent Jihad (fight) is that for the conquest of self.”

  • Prophet Muhammad (570 – 632)

Developing moral philosophy and ethical values are the issues of prime concern now-a-days. The précis is therefore designed for the cadets of Bangladesh Naval Academy, intended for their moral and ethical development. The content of the précis will help developing moral character of the under trainees and the people concerned. Bangladesh Naval Academy assumes the sacred responsibility of making future naval leaders who will be entrusted with to steer our beloved navy, in other words, to serve the nation’s maritime interest. Effort has been taken to make the précis a general but consolidated one. It covers brief but comprehensive ideas of Philosophy, moral philosophy, character building, attitude & personality, desire, values and punishment. Each and every chapter is dealt with ample ideas of the subject concerned. Language is used in simple and comprehensible manner for easy assimilation to everyone. Since the character is higher than intellect, the whole endeavour is taken to focus on character building process. Knowing self is conquering self. In our daily life we actually fight with self. This ‘self’ is nothing but the subconscious and unconscious level of individual’s mind that always contradicts with reality. Therefore, the learning principle of this précis is ‘know thyself’.

Bangladesh Naval Academy Lt Cdr M H R Khan



Introduction & Historical Background

KNOW THYSELF” – Socrates (470-399 B.C.)


1. The history of philosophy is the study of philosophical ideas and concepts through time. All cultures - be they prehistoric, medieval, or modern; Eastern, Western, religious or secular — have had their own unique schools of philosophy, arrived at through both inheritance and through independent discovery. Such theories have grown from different premises and approaches, examples of which include rationalism (theories arrived at through logic), empiricism (theories arrived at through observation), and even through leaps of faith, hope and inheritance (such as the supernaturalism and religions).

2. Socrates (470-399 B.C.), Plato (427-347 B.C.) and Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) had the major influence on science and philosophy. As a disciple of Plato, Aristotle studied Logic, Physics, Cosmology and Anatomy. Apart from those, he thought about human nature and ethics. His famous oracle “KNOW THYSELF” put emphasis on human nature and ethics. he felt about the value of introspection(aclose examination of one’s beliefs and values).

3. Science grew out of philosophy. The major modern innovators – Bacon, Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Darwin, Heisenberg, Bohr, Planck, Kant, Maxwell, Hertz, Helmholz, Poincaré, Edison, Newton, Einstein etc. were all centrally influenced by fundamental Epistemology (The philosophical theory of knowledge).They all were the greatest philosophers of science as they developed important and influential views, the nature of theories and hypotheses, explanation, and the role of probability theory. Certainly it can be argued very convincingly that the Science and Philosophy had much insight into the aims and methods of logic and system.

4. philosophy has developed its great tradition, addressing many of thestandard philosophical issues–about knowledge, the nature of reality, determinism (all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes) and indeterminism (containing randomness or uncertainty), ethics and so on.

historical background

5. It is difficult to say who is (are) the first philosopher(s) or when informal philosophizing first occurred. The earliest homo sapiens most likely looked out at their fledgling world and wondered about its status, its meaning, the meaning of existence, the conditions of survival, the reality of a finite world and their place in it. To reflect and conjecture thusly is to philosophize, however unclear the mental exercise or vulnerable nascent intelligence may be to superstition. 

6. If philosophy is understood simply as the study of metaphysics and epistemology, of logic and ethics, of aesthetics and politics, or of any of these "branches" separately, then the onus of tracing her provenience becomes considerably lighter. We know, for example, that the Milesians of Greece, led by Thales ((625-545 B.C.), were making important investigations into nature as early as the seventh century B.C.; eastern teachers and prophets such as Lao-Tse, Confucius, and the Buddha were contemplating moral ideals and concepts during the sixth century B.C. The pre-Socratic philosophers (Heraclitus, Empedocles, Parmenides, Zeno) followed with their formulations and speculations, and in the wings were three of history's most prodigious philosophical minds (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle).

7. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle had the biggest influence on science and philosophy. Socrates contributed much to Logic, Physics, Cosmology and Anatomy.But heemphasizedon the study of the natural world. He began to think about human nature and ethics. His famous oracle “KNOW THYSELF” talked much about human nature and ethical values.

8. Fashioning any historical chart or timeline is still tricky, because certain figures are obscure, certain philosophies fragmented and incomplete. Perhaps not enough is known about the role women played even in the early days of philosophy.It's not always clear when one period ends and another begins,

Science and PHILOSOPHY

9. Science. What is science? Have you ever thought what science really is and what the scientists really do? To the common people, a scientist is a person putting on white lab coat working with coloured test tubes looking for new discoveries.

The term “science” is hard to define because science involvesmany different aspects of learning such as from making observation to designing experiments.It also involves making conclusions and trying to better understand the world we live in. One way to define science is, “Science is a systematic way to study the world in which we live.”
10. The word “Science” is a relatively modern word. The word “Science” could not be found before 1400 A.D. It is derived from Latin word scirewhich means “To know”. The word was first introduced in 1834 by a British scholar named William Whewell (1794-1866). Before this time people who studied science were called “Natural philosophers”.
11. Where does science come from? Today’s modern science is really a combination of three different ways ancient people investigated the world around them. Ancient people investigated the world around them first through ideas, then as observation, then as application. Hence, modern science is really a combination of science as ideas, science as discovery, and science as invention. Science as ideas we now call philosophy.
12. Philosophy. When we talk about philosophy, we often refer to the thoughts and ideas that began in Asia Minor around 600 B.C. Philosophy is a combination of two Greek words, phileinsophia, meaning ‘lover of wisdom’.In ancient times a lover of wisdom could be related to any area where intelligence was expressed. This could be in business, politics, human relations, or carpentry and other skills. Philosophy had a "wholeness" approach to life in antiquity.

13. The earliest philosophers clustered around the Mediterranean Sea most notably ancient Greece.

Ancient Map of Asia Minor

Greek philosophers
14. there were plenty of Greek philosophers who contributed in the arena of philosophy and science. Thales (625-545 B.C.) was the first Greek philosophers. After that Anaximander (611-547 B.C.), Anaxemenes (550-475 B.C.), Heraclitus (540-475 B.C.), Pythagoras (582-500 B.C.), Parmenides (480 B.C.), Empedocles (500-430 B.C.), Leucippus of Miletus (440 B.C.), Democritus (420 B.C.), Socrates (470-399 B.C.), Plato (427-347 B.C.) and Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) came into being. All of them had something to offer to science and philosophy.
15. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle had the biggest influence on science and philosophy. Aristotle was the student of Plato and Plato was the student of Socrates. Socrates did not like to study the natural world though he had much contribution to Logic, Physics, Cosmology and Anatomy. He rather liked to think about human nature and ethics. His famous oracle at Delphi “KNOW THYSELF” talked much about human nature and ethics.Socrates felt so passionately about the value of self-examination that he closely examined not only his own beliefs and values but those of others as well. More precisely, through his relentless questioning, he forced people to examine their own beliefs. He saw the citizens of his beloved Athens sleepwalking through life, living only for money, power, and fame, so he became famous trying to help them.In the following chapters we will illustrate moral and ethical values with their corollaries.

“The unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates

Philosophy & Moral Philosophy

Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine

-Sigmund Freud (1856 –1939)


16. Defining philosophy is as difficult as trying to define love. In today's world there is a popular use of the word philosophy. Philosophy is a term applied to almost any area of life. Some questions may express this general attitude: what is your philosophy of business? banking? driving a car? or your philosophy of the use of money? If this popular misuse of the word were to prevail, one may admit that anyone who thinks seriously about any subject is a philosopher. If this very general definition is accepted, everyone becomes a philosopher. It becomes true, paradoxically, that when everyone is a philosopher, no one is a philosopher. If this definition prevailed, it would mean that a philosopher is anyone who says he is a philosopher. If we do this, we are ignoring the academic disciplines, or study of philosophy.

17. Plato declared that philosophy is a gift the gods have bestowed on mortals. This may reflect man's ability to reason about the world as well as man's life within it. Plato wrote that "land animals came from men who had no use for philosophy”.Socrates' famous statement, "Know Thyself," reflects this aim of philosophy.

Definition of Philosophy

18. Philosophyis an academic discipline that exercises reason and logic in an attempt to understand reality and answer fundamental questions about knowledge, life, morality, reality, values, mind and human nature.

Category of Philosophy
19. Modern philosophy is categorized by following:

a. Metaphysics (The philosophical study of being and knowing)

b. Epistemology (The philosophical theory of knowledge)

c. Logic

d. Ethics

e. Aesthetics

f. Political Philosophy

g. Social Philosophy

20. Moral philosophy is the study of human conduct and values. The word moral comes from the Latin word moralis which includes custom, ethics and code of behaviour acceptable in a particular society.It is concerned with the principles of right and wrong.It is thus amplified by following statements:

‘They have a moral obligation to pay the money back’.

‘They have a moral obligation not to touch anything without informing its owner’.

‘They have a moral obligation not to lie, cheat or steal’.

21. “Moral philosophy is nothing else but the science of what is good and what is evil in the conversation and society of mankind; good and evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions which in different tempers, custom and doctrines of men are different.” -Thomas Hobbs.

22. “Moral values, and a culture and a religion, maintain these values are far better than laws and regulation” -Swami Sivananda
Moral and morality

23. these are just two sides of the same moral phenomenon. Moral is the social side and morality is the individual side of the same. Moral means the moral norms and moral principles of the common sense and accepted by the members of a social community. Morality, on the other hand, means the personal moral values and principles which conduct one’sbehaviour in reality.


24. The word Moral comes from the Latin word moralismeans expressing or conveying truths. moral is a practice or teaching within a moral code established in a society. It is more of a Psychological rather than physical in nature. it is concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles. Example-"moral sense",“moral attitude”, "moral lesson", "moral convictions", "moral life” etc.In ancient time stealing in some tribe used to be matter of immoral act but stealing in the interest of own tribe would be moral act.Moral is very much subjective. It can vary person to person and culture to culture.


25. Morality derived from the Latin word moralitas meaning “manner”, “character”or“proper behavior”. Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between right and wrong.The descriptive definition of “morality” refers to the most important code of conduct put forward by a society and accepted by the members of that society.

Moral Code

26. A moral code is a system of morality (according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.).The Golden Rule of morality is, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself."That means you should treat (behave) others, they way you want to be treated by others.

27. . All actions are not object of moral judgment. Voluntary or habitual actions are object of moral judgment. Actions voluntary in nature are performed knowingly and intelligently by self-conscious. Voluntary actions has three stages; mental, bodily and external stage.
a. Mental stage. A feeling of want is converted into desire. Desire is a craving to satisfy one’s appetite or feeling of want by attaining its object. There is conflict of different motives in the mind which leadsus to select a course of action rejecting others. This is a decision, not awin of the strongest motive over the weakest motive. It is a stage when the chosen motive becomes strongest (be it right or wrong). When the conflict continues the indecision takes place.

b. Bodily Stage. When people become conscious in making choice, decision then converted into action. For instance, when a cadet wants to do well in academics, he then attempts to visit and follow the seniors who all are good in study.

c. External Stage. In this stage change takes place in the form of satisfaction. For example, obtaining good marks in academics a cadet completely fulfills his/her want and enables him/her to fulfill other positive motives.


Character is higher than intellect.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

28. The word “character” comes from the Greek term kharaktêrwhichrefers any distinctive feature by which one thing is distinguished from others. in contemporary usage, character often refers to a set of qualities or characteristics that can be used to differentiate between persons. The term character is typically used to refer to the particular moral dimension of a person. In general, character, good or bad, is considered to be observable in one's conduct. Thus, character is different from values in that values are orientations or dispositions whereas character involves action or activation of knowledge and values. From this perspective, values are seen as one of the foundations for character.
29. English philosopher John Locke, (1632 –1704) advocated education for character development. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) said "development of character is a solution to social problems and a worthy educational ideal". Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) said, "education has for its object the formation of character". This philosophy still prevails in today’s world.
30. Education or training is designed for three objectives.

a. The first is the development of a visionfor one's life and community.

b. The second is the development of one's character.

c. The third is the development of competence that deals with concerns of how well one is successful in doing something.

31. In achieving the said objectives, three dimensional training are being conducted for the UTs in BNA. These are as follows:

a. development of knowledge.

b. military training.

c. Development of character.

Determinants of Character
32. following are the factors that develop characteristics of character:
a. Heredity.

b. Early childhood experience.

c. Influence of senior adults.

d. Peer influence.

e. Social environment.

f. Communicationwith parents and nearest people.

g. Schooling.

h. Modeling

j. Religious belief.
Moral character

33. Moral characteris an evaluation of a particular individual's stable moral qualities. The concept can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as empathy, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits. Moral character primarily refers to the assembly of qualities that distinguish one individual from another. Psychologist Lawrence Pervin (1994) defines moral character as "a disposition to express behavior in consistent patterns of functions across a range of situations."

Characteristics of Moral Character

34. Characteristics of moral character are as follows:

a. Faith in Almighty.

b. Sacrifice.

c. Self Confidence.

d. Honesty and Reliability.

e. Impartiality.

f. Responsibility.

g. Forgiveness.

h. Self satisfaction with minimum.

Immoral Character

35. The word immoral has 5 senses, such as,

a. Deliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong.

b. Not adhering to ethical or moral principles.
c. Morally unprincipled.
d. Characterized by wickedness or immorality.
e. Marked by immorality; deviating from what is considered right or proper.

Characteristics of imMoral Character
36. Followings are the characteristics of immoral character:

a. Doubtfulness.

b. Flattery.

c. Slandering (damaging other’s reputation).

d. Usury (unlawful interest).

e. Oppression (cruelty).

f. Pride.

g. hesitance to abide by the rules.

Development of Character

37. Good character contributes to success. A character quality is a habit that you can develop through repeated practice. With this understanding in mind, you can help by employing the following six steps to develop your character positively:

a. Understand the Quality
b. Grasp its actions
c. Realize its benefits
d. Practice its actions
e. Encourage it in others
f. Be encouraged

38. In BNA, the cadets are assessed in different personality factors. Following personality factors have direct relationin developing moral character.

39. Personality Factors
a. Morale Factors.
(1) Honesty and Integrity. It is the quality of being honoured and upright in character and actions. Honesty implies a refusal to lie, steal, or cheat in any way. This is the quality or fact of being honest, upright, fair, truthful, and sincere. Integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or promise. Integrity is a personal choice, an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honour moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles.
(2) Loyalty. Faithfully and willingly supporting the cause of the country, service, training, seniors, peers and juniors. Loyalty is love for a person or institution.It is reflected by a person’s correct and consistent obedience to rules, regulations and norms.
(3) Unselfishness/Sacrificing Attitude. It is the quality of an individual to place self after others, sharing resources, advantages not available to others, helping the weak ones by physical or intellectual attention. It is also the willingness to be patient towards others whose opinions or ways differs from one’s own opinion. Sacrificing attitude is an act of giving up one thing for another, compromisingself interest for the sake of institution, society or country.

b. Influencing Factors.

(1) Sincerity. Sincerity is the trait of being serious. It is also the quality of being open and truthful; not deceitful or hypocritical.
(2) Sense of Humour and Dignity. It is the state or power of mind that wins respect and high opinion of others. It is also the quality to find what is right and act on it, even if it is disadvantageous. It reflects the standard of individual’s self respect and pride but not egotism or self-importance.
(3) Sense of Duty and Responsibility. It applies to what a person ought to do at all times because it is legally or morally right. Sense of duties make a person what he thinks is right even when it is disadvantageous or unfavourableto him.

(4) Academic Knowledge. It imparts an individual the capability to widen outlook and forming values of life in correct perspective. It also improves a person’s sense of justice basing on truth, beauty and sanctity. It makes mental horizon more dimensional giving clear concept of life.

c. Social factors.

(1) Cooperation an Espirite-de-corps. Cooperation is a vital element which means to help other in all situations at any cost. Esprit-de-Corps is a common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm, and devotion to a cause among the members of a group.

(2) Manner and Etiquette. This is a code of behavior that defines expectations for social behavior within a society, social class, or group.

40. Moral character is essential for a military leadership in every sphere of actions. One of the favorite sayings is that “you measure a person’s character by how they act when no one is watching, and by the choices they make when they believe no one will ever know.” Regrettably, many people choose to live in two worlds…their public world, and their private world.


Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character” -Albert Einstein(1879 – 1955)

41. we often use the word attitude in our everyday life. An attitude is a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings and behavioral tendencies toward objects, groups, events and persons. An attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event.Psychologists define attitudes as a learned tendency to evaluate things in a certain way. This can include evaluations of people, issues, objects or events. Such evaluations are often positive or negative, but they can also be uncertain at times. For example, you might have mixed feelings about a particular person or issue.
42. Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport (1954)defined attitude “A learned predisposition to think, feel and behave towards a person or object in a particular way.” attitudes is formed from a person's past and present learning and experience.Attitude is also measurable and changeable as well as influencing the person's emotion and behavior.A bad attitude is like a flat tire, if you don’t change it, you’ll never go anywhere. Therefore, it is said that the only disability in life is bad attitude.
43. Each of us is in some ways unique. This uniqueness comes from our perception, thinking, learning, feeling and remembering. This uniqueness or distinctiveness is very much subjective, that means it varies person to person. That’s why, every person is unique to others. This distinctiveness helps define our individual personality. Your personality is defined by your relatively distinctive and consistent ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving and acting. For instance, if your personality is unusually distinctive and consistent – if, say, you are always late in every fall-in, you will then be judged as lazy or slow in up-take by your instructors and peers. If, say, you have a tendency to lie to evade responsibility or hardship, you will then be judged as dodger or cheater or fraud. “Personality consists of “an individual’s enduring response patterns across a variety of situation” – Harre&Lambe (1983).
character and personality

44. our individual character reflects our individual personality. In other words, character defines our personality. Man with honour and dignity is recalled with respect by everyone in every society. They are ever lasting personality with fame. On the other hand, man with dishonour and disgrace is hated by all, often recalled by people with disregard. For instance, if you set an example of honesty, integrity and punctuality, you will be recalled with honour and rewarded accordingly.

Positive Psychology

45. positive psychology “is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to succeed,” according to the Martin E.P. Seligman (2002).The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.It studies three principle areas, according to Seligman:

  1. positive emotions (such as happiness and hope).

  2. positive individual traits (such as strength, resilience and creativity).

  3. positive institutions (such as better communities, leadership and parenting).


"What is wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is still right, even if no one else is doing it."

- William Penn (1644-1718)


47. Values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought to be”.Some values are physiologically determined and are normally considered objective, such as a desire to avoid physical pain or to seek pleasure. Other values are considered subjective, vary across individuals and cultures, and are in many ways aligned with belief and belief systems. Types of values include ethical/moral values, doctrinal/ideological (religious, political) values, social values, and aesthetic values.

48. Values can be defined as broad preference concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person's sense of right and wrong or what "ought" to be. Values tend to influence attitude and behavior.values include ethical/moral values, doctrinal/ideological (religious, political) values, social values and aesthetical values.generally honesty, compassion, courage, integrity, fairness and respect are included in values.

Category of values

49. Values may be categorized in two broad terms.

a. Extrinsic Value. Wealth, fame etc are said to have extrinsic value becausethey are not desired for their own sakes,rather for the sake of something/somebodyelse.

b. Intrinsic Value. There are certain things that are truth, beauty, holiness, culture and virtue which are desired for their own sake. Truth and beauty lie in themselves. Therefore they are said to possess intrinsic value.

Types of Values

50. There are four types of values:

a. Ethical / Moral value.

b. Doctrinal / Ideological value ( Religious/Politics)

c. Social values

d. Aesthetic values

formation period of values

51. Sociologist Morris Massey, suggests that there are 3 major periods that a person will go through in the creation of values and personality.

a. The Imprint Period, which occurs from birth until age 7.

b. The Modeling Period which occurs from age 8 until 13; and

c. The Socializing Period from ages 14 to 21.

52. During our Imprint Period ages 0 to 7 we continue to soak up everything like a sponge; we pick up and store everything that goes on in our environments and from our parents and other people and events that occur around us. It's imprinted into us.

53. The Modeling Period from ages 8 to 13 is when we begin to consciously and unconsciously model basic behaviors of other people. Then we may also begin to imitate the values of those people.our major values about life are picked up during this period about age 10. In addition he suggests that our values are based on where we were and what was happening in the world at that time.

54. The Socialization Period from ages 14 to 21. The young person picks up relationship and social values, most of which will be used throughout the rest of his or her life. By age 21 the formation of core values is just about complete and will not change unless a significant or dramatic emotional event occurs.

determinants of values

55. Values are determined by the following factors:

a. Family: The most important place for building values is a person’s family. The family is responsible for teaching children what is right and wrong. It is said that child’s first and best school is family and parents are the best teachers.

b. School: As children start school, school helps in shaping the values in them.

c. Society/Religion: As childrengrow physically and mentally then religion and society play vital role in teaching the values, ethics and code of conduct.
JUDGMENT of values

56. We may judge our individual state of value in following seven ways:

a. Wealth without work.

b. Pleasure without conscience.

c. Knowledge without character.

d. Commerce without morality.

e. Science without humanity.

f. Religion without sacrifice.

g. Politics without principle.


Individual desires must be postponed in the name of the higher idea

- Plato(427-347 B.C.)


57. Desire may be defined as a peculiar state of craving, longing for a person, object or outcome.When a person desires something or someone, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of the item or person, and they want to take actions to obtain their goal. The motivational aspect of desire has long been noted by philosophers; Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) asserted that human desire is the fundamental motivation of all human action.

space of Desire

58. Each desire belongs to a particular space and loses its meaning if we pass out of that universe into another. Desires are essentially shaped, moulded and developed by the individual in accordance with his own character and intellect. Even in the same person, the space (universe) of desire may vary with changes of circumstances.

Satisfying desire

59. There are two ways to satisfy our desire.

a. Wecan easily get what we want (luck matters one in a million).

b. we can change our mind to adjust or tolerate the situation.

power of desire

60. Desire getsstronger when supported by following 5 Ds:

a. Direction.

b. Dedication.

c. Determination.

d. Discipline.

e. Deadline.

Conflict of Desire

61. conflict, a perceived incompatibility of actions or goals. It is an almost inevitable part of our life.There may be more than one desire at a time with an individual which may something conflict with each other.Since a desire is not an isolated phenomenon, but a part of system, a conflict of desire is in reality a conflict between two or more desires. It is a conflict of self with self, it is not a conflict of myself with something external to me.

62. suppose, as a divisional officer you think that you require taking some extra classes of your cadets to recover their weaknesses. For this, you have to spare your leisure time. At the same time you think that you can spend your own time for your family or personal affair. So, two desires are in conflict. It may so happen that the desire to attend personal affair may not get priority over your professional matters, if you are committed professionally.


The liar's punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.”

- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).

Why Do People Obey The Law?

63. For decades, psychologists have researched why people obey the law. Is it because of their moral values or because they're afraid of the punishment if they get caught? And what types of punishment are the best at deterring criminals? These are the questions psychologists try to answer. Let's look at some of the things their research can tell us about why people obey the law and popular theories of punishment thereof.

64. Punishment is the payback for deliberate breach of the moral law. One who suffers wrong is not degraded. His soul is not hurt by it. But one who does wrong lowers him/herself in the scale of moral perfection. A man is rewarded for his good deeds. Similarly a man should be punished for his evil deeds.

65. The word punishment comes from latin word Punire means planned sufferings.“ Punishment is the practice of imposing something unpleasant or aversive on a person or animal in response to an unwanted disobedient or morally wrong behaviour”. Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something undesirable or unpleasant upon an individual or group by law enforcement, in response to behaviour that an authority deems unacceptable or a violation of some norm.

goals of Punishment

66. It is said “Punishment involves pain or suffering designed and justified by some value that the sufferer is assumed to have violated the standard norms. Accidental pain or sufferings is not punishment”.

Different forms of Punishment
67. Following punishment system has been continued since unknown periods:
a. Flogging (beating/whipping).

b. Mutilation (injury).

c. Branding (Burn with a branding iron to indicate ownership/punishment mark).

d. Pillory (humiliate).

e. Transportation (Draw slowly or heavily by horse or cart).

f. Solitary confinement (silent imprisonment).

g. Financial penalties.

h. Death sentence or capital punishment.

Theories of Punishment

68. Four principal theories have been put forward to justify punishment, supported and prescribed by philosophers, psychologists, sociologists and criminologists. They are known as:

a. Preventive Theory.

b. Deterrent Theory.

c. Reformative Theory.

d. Retributive Theory.

69. Preventive Theory. According to this theory, the aim of punishment is to prevent others from committing similar offences. a criminal is punished to be made example to prevent others from committing the same offences in future. criminologist suggests that it is not unjust one man should suffer pain not for his own rectification, but for that of others’ refinement.

70. Deterrence Theory. It is almost similar to preventive theory because it prevents crime by creating deterrence. Here prevails intensity and severity of punishment. Deterrence theory says that people don't commit crimes because they are afraid of getting caught - instead of being motivated by some deep moral sense. According to deterrence theory, people are most likely to be dissuaded from committing a crime if the punishment is swift, certain and severe. For example, you want an mp3 player but don't have money for it. Will you shoplift it if you know that you won’t get caught? if there is a low chance of getting caught or if the punishment for getting caught is just a warning, deterrence theory says you'll be more likely to steal it.

71. Reformative Theory. According to this theory the aim of punishment is to educate or reform the offender. Punishment is inflicted on a criminal in order to reform or educate him. This theory is commonly accepted because it is in harmony with the humanitarian sentiments.This theory does not involve treating a person as a thing. A criminal is punished for his own good—not merely for the good of others. Reformation or education of the criminal is the aim of punishment. This theory is supported by criminology. Criminology regards every crime as a pathological phenomenon, a form of insanity an innate or acquired psychological defect. Therefore, criminal ought to be cured rather than punished. Thus according to criminology the criminals ought to be treated in hospital asylums and reformatories. Crimes are due to social inequalities, maladjustments and corruptions. For example, theft is due to poverty, therefore subjugationto crimes. Without improving the social and economic conditions of criminals, punishment is useless and injurious. Crimes can be prevented only if the human society is reconstructed on the basis of justice and equality.

72. Retributive Theory. According to this theory punishment is an act of justice. “Punishment is an end itself,--not a means to and end beyond itself”. The aim of punishment is to defend the supremacy and authority of the moral law and to do justice to a criminal. The moral law is broken by a criminal and justice demands that he/she should be punished and the authority of the moral law should be established. The moral law is supreme and authoritative. If the criminal is not punished, the moral law losses its dignity, authority and majesty. Punishment is inflicted on the offender for wellbeing of society. It justifies capital punishment under exceptional circumstances. Right to live is a fundamental right. If a person takes away the life of another, justice demands that he should be deprived of his life. The retributive theory assumes two forms:
a. Rigoristic. According to the Rigoristic form of the retributive theory, punishment is inflicted according to the character of the offence, if it is severe, the punishment should be severe, and if the offence is light; the punishment should be light, irrespective of other circumstances. Eye for eye;-tooth for a tooth is the motto of this view.
b. Mollified. According to mollified form of retributive theory, punishment should be inflicted according to the character of the offence under particular circumstances. Here the justifying circumstances, e.g. the age of the criminal, his intention, provoking circumstances, etc taken into account. The mollified form of the retributive theory seems to be the most satisfactory theory of punishment.

73. If punishment can reform the offender, it serves its purpose well. But punishment does not always reform an offender. sometimes, it hardens a criminal in criminal habits. A kind of treatment may sometimes produce a better effect than punishment, it may be more favorable to the reformation of the offender. Sometimes forgiveness may bring criminals to repentance and reformation.

June 08, 2014 Written, edited and compiled by –

Lt Cdr M Habibur Rahman Khan


Bangladesh Naval Academy

Book and Journals

1. Arnold S. Kahn. (1984). Social Psychology.Wm C. Brown Publishers, Lowa, USA.

2. Allport, Gordon. (1935). "Attitudes," in A Handbook of Social Psychology, ed. C. Murchison. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, USA.

3. bangladesh military academy précis.

4. David G. Myers.(1986). Psychology.Worth Publishers. New York, USA.

5. Pervin, Lawrence (1994). "A Critical Analysis of Current Trait Theory", Psychological Inquiry 5, Rutgers University. New Jersey, USA.pp. 103–113.


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