Humanist Perspectives: issue 162, Justice & Revenge

Justice & Revenge
issue 162, Autumn 2007

cover of issue 162
editorial & special report
Humanism & Forgiveness by Gary Bauslaugh
To punish or to let go? Humanists ought to exemplify a forgiving attitude.
reflections of a humanist
Punishment or Prevention? by Theo Meijer
Our attitude toward crime is flawed by too much reliance on punishment and incarceration, and too little attention to the causes of crime.
letters from our readers
  • Alexandre Brassard of York University challenges Humanist Perspectives’ attacks on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); Patrick Walden of TRIUMF replies.
  • Joyce Tomboulian questions Humanist Perspectives’ thoughts on “Rethinking Humanism”; Gary Bauslaugh replies.
  • Max Wallace argues that in “Rethinking Humanism” we need to pay more attention to the privileges accorded religions in supposedly secular societies.


Vengeance is Mine by Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston discusses the popularity of the revenge theme in film and literature, how revenge stories are structures, and why they are imaginatively appealing — they are a “powerful wish fulfillment fantasy”.
The Weak Get Even & The Great Get Over It
by June Callwood
June Callwood was one of Canada’s leading journalists. This is one of her last essays.
Getting Even? The Ethics & Politics of Revenge by Trudy Govier
Trudy Govier examines different attitudes toward revenge, through the voices of four characters in a coffee house.
Let’s Make Us Medicine of Our Great Revenge:
Revenge as a Literary Motif
by Joan Givner
Canadian novelist and biographer Joan Givner sees revenge as a “quintessential ingredient” of fiction.


The Mime by Joan Givner
Joan Givner illustrates the revenge theme in a story of her own, first published here in Humanist Perspectives.

columns & departments

things that go bump
Justice & Revenge by James Alcock
Justice involves fair process; it involves a system of quid pro quo. Revenge is an individual, emotional, and often irrational matter.
letter from new york
From Brooklyn to Iraq:
Revenge in the Desert, Resolve in the Ring
by Jonny Diamond
A desire for retribution, after 9/11 was used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq. Revenge, Diamond argues, is an ugly thing at any level.
Beyond Revenge by Shirley Goldberg
Shirley Goldberg writes about subtle changes to the revenge formula that are occurring, in particular, in recent French language films.

last word

An Ethical Conundrum by Robert G Weyant
Are we really interested in rehabilitation? If so, what about our feelings about our right to mental autonomy? Robert Weyant argues that this is an ethical conundrum.


On Hearing Laurie Altman’s “Lost Child” Suite by Judy Rowe Michaels
A nine-year-old Lebanese girl‘s comment inspired a musical composition and this poem by Judy Michaels.