Systems of particles that think they have “moral judgement/moral wisdom” set up and enforce laws to inhibit anti-moral behaviour from other systems of particles who supposedly have violated the “moral code” according to the earlier systems of particles. This happens in accordance with the biological principles of propagating the welfare/well-being of the species.
Less compassion and compersion is observed between species, although it’s not never observed. Some humans with evolved moral neurones also care about not hurting animals.
From a 1st person, quaila perspective, we want a sense of righteousness & fairness as well as a sense of justice. We want to live in a world with promises & contracts. We find that some systems of particles follow contracts & share our moral values to a large extent. We choose to associate with these systems of particles and make them our moral compatriots. Those who we see violating the moral code and committing crimes in the interest of self, violating the principles of fairness, we want to see punished. That is our innate sense of justice and morality, inbuilt in us naturally.
The confusion arises when the two ways of describing the worldly phenomenon are inter-related with each other. The human moral dimension with the matter, energy in flux & motion. Both ways of talking don’t fit well together/simultaneously. We need to better explain the emergence of human morality from principles of physics, and we need better ways of expressing ideas if we are going to conflate the two and talk about both in the same sentence/paragraph.
Now, let’s try to answer the question: Should criminals be punished for their crime?
Ans: In they are guilty as charged and there are no extenuating circumstances, like them being under duress or under the influence of alcohol or sometching akin etc, then yes, criminals should be punished if they are committing crime for selfish reasons.
It’s just like saying that systems of particles that naturally evolved “decided” using language to act and affect other systems of particles who were cheaters & thieves in such a manner that the later were put into prison. This happened because of the emergent properties of “morality” which emerged from evolutionary biology as a matter of natural & sexual selection. These memes of justice & morality were projected in the collective human consciousness in other to propagate the collective sense of justice and morality that the humans felt they shared amongst themselves. Since their first person experience made them “feel” that they could “choose” to act morally and righteously, so could others and that it’s their duty to promote moral actors/actions and demote anti-moral actors/actions in order to propagate the human species into the future with the greatest probability of success and flourishing as was in their violation to influence and control.
Should we feel pride or guilt? From a qualia/first person experience of reality perspective, yes so that we can maximise whatever it is we want to maximise in this life we are living which btw is not necessarily only sensual pleasure but seems to be a combination of
▫️Meaning & purpose;
▫️Family, friends and community;
▫️Epicurean Reality – Resources, safety, security, scope(freedom to flourish in an area of choice);
▫️Knowledge, insights & creativity;
▫️Living in Nature and nearer to nature;
▫️Physical, mental & spiritual health (includes nutrition sleep, rest, nourishment, leisure etc)
▫️Pleasures of vision, audition, kinaesthesia, smell, taste.
The above I will choose to call the metrics associated with human well-being and flourishing.
From a third person perspective, yes because systems of particles that do feel the feelings of guilt/pride aptly in general do much better than those systems of particles that don’t feel guilt/pride wrt the metrics generally associated with human well-being and flourishing. Since these systems of particles have conglomerated to form a human being as of this spatial temporal interval, they would do the best as per the metrics defined by them in they allow themselves in whatever capacity they have/can to feel guilt and pride. Similar reasoning holds true for feeling status and self esteem. However vanity and status can lead to narcissism and which maybe effectively detrimental to the human, a phenomenon that will be explained elsewhere.