Beccaria saw punishment as a form of social control. Anyone who commits a crime could be punished for doing so, and the justification for its imposition rested upon the understanding that punishment is necessary to maintain order and peace within society. As the only recourse in a state of nature to enforce civil order, government had the right to punish those who break the law. To justify the use of punishment, Beccaria argued on the common-law approach, that criminal law should be based on a rule of thumb, in order to be seen as reasonable. Beccaria then argues that the common-law approach is superior to a system of biblical precedents or divine right.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau initiated a continuing debate about the relationship between the law and the state. He argued that the state though having been instituted by consent of the governed, did not enjoy the same legitimacy as a contract made under the sign of necessity. He argued that in fact the state is an artificial being with provisions, and that the law is a code of social conduct. Rousseau saw the justification for punishment as based upon the general will and not the general conscience. He then rejected the idea that the purpose of punishment is retribution and declared that the purpose is to improve a person's character and to reform and rehabilitate.
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who lived in 1724-1804. He was a proponent of natural law. He believed that knowledge of reason is innate in humans, and derives from the concept of understanding. Reason, in this sense, is that which enables us to derive rules that will be followed by any sentient being. Kant argued that the Law is the cui bono, or quid pro quo of the ruler acting as an impartial judge. He also stated that the sovereign was legitimate only in so far as it was morally justified and that crimes such as genocide, torture and slavery are not justified under natural law. Kant wrote that there are two types of crimes, those that are merely morally reprehensible and require the punishment of the criminal and those that involve the violation of human dignity, which requires the punishment of the victim. d2c66b5586