Learning the differences between Positivism and Classicism. This essay will consist of me comparing two terms used to accustom crime: Classicist and Positivist. Looking at the association along with the two terms and how they can oppose one atypical. Theories, arguments, and history of Positivism and Classicism will be the main focus. I will be challenging theories and including what I’ve scholarly in my current module to intensify my reduction, looking put going on to the subject of the lectures I’ve taken. To compare classicism and positivism I will be looking at biological, and psychological positivism aspects comparing it to what I know is not quite classicism.
Here are the articles to answer, the doubts about the differences between positivism and classicism!
What are the differences between positivism and classicism? Classicism usually refers to the lead happening to the late 18th century, first introduced by recognized Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria and the famous British theorist Jeremy Bentham. When talking roughly classicism, these are the two names that will usually be spoken very more or less to manage to pay for a determined accord of classicism. Classicism is the defense for checking accounts and admission to crime, this touches upon one neighboring to will and critical calculating.
Cesare Beccaria wrote a book “on Crimes and punishment”(1764). Cesare Beccaria goes into depth about the origin of punishment, the right to punish, and the proportion between crimes and punishment. What are the Differences Between Greek and Roman Gods? Cesare Beccaria demonstrates that punishment must be proportionate to the crime committed. “It is better to prevent crimes than to punish them.” Cesare Beccaria published his book anonymously for fear of being executed which shows how severe the punishments were for crimes or even those who challenged the law.
It shows the idea of punishment and how it was used to induce fear into people to prevent criminal behavior, which sheds light on public executions and brutal torture. Crime engages in breaking the social contract which involves murder, thefts, etc. “Rule of the law”. Jeremy Bentham then intensifies Beccaria’s point by introducing utilitarian philosophy in his book(introduction to principles of morals and legalization,1780)in his book there’s a quote “utility is meant that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good or happiness” (1780).
Jeremy Bentham added to Beccaria’s studies that punishment should be deterrent. From my understanding, Jeremy Bentham is touching on how human behavior maximizes pleasure whilst trying to avoid the disadvantages that come with it. Bentham also includes in his studies free will and hedonistic calculus. The enlightenment from Beccaria and Bentham is: that the punishment is proportional, and to be carried out promptly. In addition to fitting the crime.
Positivism is the opposite of classicism and includes science, positivism gives a philosophical body constructing human knowledge on the scientific interpretation of observational data. Positivism refers back to the late 19th century, the figurehead of biological positivism is a popular physician and anthropologist Italian Cesare Lombroso introduced atavism into his theory stating that “criminals are born, not made” and that one’s appearance and head size could determine their criminal behavior.
Cesare Lombroso was inspired by Charles Darwin’s theory and phenology fuelling his idea for studies in biological positivism leading idea of an atavism criminal. Psychological positivism is an offense due to a criminal mind. Sigmund Freud the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud contributed to psychological positivism, he believed that humans are born with ID. In Sigmund Freud’s book “The Ego and the ID”(1923) In Freud’s book, he talks about the ego, superego, and ID.
He goes into depth about criminal behavior categorizing it into three sections. Deviant superego, harsh superego, weak superego. In his book, he talks thoroughly about these three expressions “Deviant Superego- Superego well developed, but according to deviant social norms and moral understanding, Harsh superego psychosexual development disrupted – influences of parents: unconsciousness, repressed fantasies.” Weak superego- guilt and morality.
How do both Positivism and Classicism oppose each other? Positivism and Classicism explain criminal behaviors and their causes of it. Positivism’s explanation of crime that is predetermined is the complete opposite of classicism. Positivism and Classicism do share some similarities however they conflict with one another. It seems that classicism is a more traditional approach whilst positivism is more of modernity explanation, introducing science and statistics into its findings.
When science is involved, it can complicate research, especially in Cesare Lombroso’s case. In Lombroso, there are a few discrepancies within his theories. In his book “The criminal man” he goes in-depth about his findings. Lombroso believed that criminals could be determined by physical defects this links to anatomical atavisms. The head size and facial features of one could determine their criminal behavior.
“Lombroso’s hypothesis of the “delinquents nato” “the born criminal” affirms that all true criminals have several casually connected characteristics: physical characteristics that can be shown anthropologically, and psychic characteristics that can be shown psycho-physiologically which mark them as an individual type of mankind” I don’t believe that criminals could be spotted by their genetic makeup, however, there’s a lot of cases I’ve read about a few cases involving criminals committing gruesome crimes, the suspect tend to have an incredibly high IQ.
Serial killers Rodney Alcala, Edmund Kemper, etc. This could easily link to Sigmund Freud’s theory about the criminal mind, however, Edmund Kemper did have physical defects but he is probably one of the very few criminals with physical defects. Lombroso’s contribution to biological positivism makes it very difficult to understand the explanation of positivism. Enrico Ferri who studied at the Italian school of criminology also added that a person’s environment could contribute to their criminal behavior.
“it is not the criminal who wills: to be a criminal the individual must find himself permanently or transitorily in such personal, physical, and moral conditions, and live in such an environment, which become for him a chain of cause and effect, eternally and internally, that disposes him toward crime” (1917) This creates a bridge to classicism to what Jeremy Bentham wrote about in his book “Utility is meant that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good or happiness”.
Thus in Enrico Ferri’s statement, those people in personal, physical, or moral conditions could be more likely to go into a life of crime to produce more benefits. The cause of crime would most likely be motivation, in this case, an individual could be adjusted to commit a crime. Biological positivism is based on scientific research and as we have access to more complex technology, and inquisitive approaches this is what makes positivism more modern. Psychological positivism strengthens the idea of positivism: as you are looking at it from a scientific way, but also in the psychological aspect which is the study of a person’s mind. Enrico Ferri’s quote also includes a sociological factor.
Giving positivism three strong arteries: psychology, sociology, and biology. Classicism goes into depth about the repercussions of crime and how crime could be minimized. I did a reading where it gives a thorough explanation of classicism and the work of Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria. From the reading ”first to escape war and chaos, individuals gave up some of their liberty and established a contractual society.
This established the sovereignty of nations and the ability of the nation to create criminal laws and punish offenders, second, because criminal laws placed restrictions on individuals’ freedoms, they should be restricted in scope. They should not be employed to enforce moral virtue. To prohibit human behavior unnecessarily was to increase rather than to decrease crime.” I’ve just taken a small section from Beccaria’s book where he talks about free will and how punishment could deter people from crime.
How one’s liberalism was given up, prohibiting human behavior could increase criminal behavior. However classicism is an age theory, Positivism and Classicism are identical in trying to explain the causes of crime but the two differ due to classicism being more of an assumption, a solution even. Even though it was accepted by the government at the time there were still many critics like Cesare Lombroso looking into the biological perspective of crime.
In his book “The criminal man” he challenges Beccaria and Bentham’s view on free will and rationality. Cesare Lombroso stated that criminality was inherited and could be shown through physical defects. Crime, criminals, and even the law change over time depending on which country you live in. The law will not always be applied with fairness unfortunately which could have an impact on the punishment given. In Enrico Ferri’s statement where he talks about moral conditions. An example: The trolley Dilemma (linked below).
How does that define that individual rationality? When looking at this example it’s hard to give a clear definition of rationality, it’s challenging to look at it from a classicist perspective when there’s no choice. To conclude Positivism and Classicism have such a huge impact on crime, criminal justice, and criminology. Both theories do explain crime, human behavior, and its causes. Positivism is a modernized approach to explaining crime, and to punishment as well.
Although I agree with the quote “Punishment should fit the crime” I don’t agree with certain punishments executed. Classicism is a traditional way to explain crime but it was a solution to approach crime and punishment then. The theories do have a difference due to timeline but there is a lot of similarities that both classicist and positivist share. Whilst classicism started as a solution it made a big difference to crime and its punishments. Positivism was developed with science but also contributes to the way we view crime and criminals.