Morality and the Death Penalty Essay Sample

7 July 2017

In this paper. the two sides of the issue of the decease punishment. pro and con. every bit good as the morality of the subject will be discussed. Opinions from both sides are presented and discussed. as I shape and present my statement on the topic. The argument has gone on for centuries. and has been brought to the head by great figures. both historical and modern-day. Some of their positions are used here to patch together my instance. In “The Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals” Kant argues three major points. These can be summarized as follows: ( 1 ) We are all. as human existences. terminals in ourselves. and non to be used as mere agencies by others ( 2 ) Respect for one’s ain humanity involves respect for others ; ( 3 ) Morality is itself indistinguishable with freedom. and moving amorally involves being enslaved. Kant believed that moral judgements must be a priori judgements. intending it is known prior to see. and is known independently of experience.

The rule upon which moral judgements should trust is known as The Categorical Imperative. intending all our actions should be based on cosmopolitan rules. unconditioned regulations that apply as a affair of ground or reason. If a regulation passes the Categorical Imperative trial. so that action is morally allowable. If it fails the trial. so that action is morally out. and. hence. the opposite action is morally required. In the instance of the decease punishment. a cosmopolitan axiom must use that is unconditioned. In order to prove the catholicity of any regulation ( such as the moral permissibility of state-sanctioned slaying ) an illustration that potentially contradicts the axiom can be imagined. In other words. under what conditions would it be morally impermissible for the province to approve decease punishment judgements against felons?

Morality and the Death Penalty Essay Sample Essay Example

Kant. himself. nevertheless. felt that liquidators should be put to decease on history of the rule of equal and merely requital. That merely the jurisprudence of requital can find the sort and grade of penalty. If the decease punishment is non applicable to all instances. it can non be a cosmopolitan regulation. While there are frequently offenses that are flagitious and inhumane. and the passions desire retaliatory justness. it is non possible to reason a principle for slaying felons. Van den Haag. taking the Kantian position. asks whether if there is nil for the interest of which 1 may be put to decease. can at that place be nil deserving deceasing for? He goes on to inquire whether “a value system in which any life. no affair how it is lived. becomes the highest of goods. enhances the value of human life or cheapens it? ” Van den Haag therefore argues that an grasp of human self-respect really demands the decease punishment. He claims. “To garbage to penalize any offense with decease. so. is to affirm that the negative weight of a offense can ne’er transcend the positive value of the life of the individual who committed it. I find that proposition implausible. ”

In reasoning for the value of the decease punishment. nevertheless. Van den Haag implicitly contradicts two basic premises of Kant’s positions. which are ( 1 ) we are all. as human existences. terminals in ourselves. and non to be used as mere agencies by others. Worlds are non to be used as agencies to an terminal. which in the instance of the decease punishment requires that felons non be murdered as agencies towards justness ; and ( 2 ) Respect for one’s ain humanity finds involves regard for others. In instances of the decease punishment. regard for others is contradicted by penalizing the felon. since the victims are being “respected” through an act of slaying that disrespects the individual being murdered. Utilitarianism is expressed in two ways – Rule Utilitarianism. and Act Utilitarianism. Justification of a ‘better societal good’ is the footing of moral logical thinking. and single instances of penalty are justified if they are in agreement with the regulations of the justified penalty system. The general regulation of utilitarianism: Maximize societal benefit ( maximise the benefit. minimise the harms. ) Rule Utilitarianism. harmonizing to Mill. depends upon a peculiar regulation that can be appealed to that will convey about the greatest societal benefit.

In decease punishment instances. regulation useful can claim that this signifier of penalty is a hindrance for future offenses and so is responsible to society more than the single being punished. Act utilitarianism attacks offense with respects to the act – whatever the offense. it must be judged in-itself and independently of cosmopolitan regulations. In this position. it can be justified to slay a condemnable if the act itself is deemed condemnable. inhumane. or if the condemnable poses a menace to the societal good. Richard Brandt is a regulation useful. The kernel of regulation utilitarianism. in Brandt’s words. is this: Our actions should be guided by a set of prescriptions the painstaking followers of which by all would hold maximal net expectable public-service corporation. Rule utilitarianism does non continue on a individual footing. It asks: what regulations of penalty would bring forth the most good? Is it truly likely that a regulation or pattern that allowed us sometimes to penalize people we knew to be guiltless would advance public-service corporation? Brandt doubts this ; nevertheless. he has no statement for explicating how this might be prevented. Bedau’s statements against the decease punishment are extended. He claims that capital penalty is barbarous and unusual because it fails to esteem human life. in much the same manner that slaying does. In footings of justness. capital penalty. because of its irrevocability. denies due procedure of jurisprudence. As such it is ever possible that guiltless people are put to decease.

The premiss that the decease punishment is a hindrance to offense is countered by Bedau. who asserts it does non discourage offense ( so. violent offenses are on the rise in North America ) . The decease punishment is. harmonizing to Bedau. uncivilized in theory and unjust and unjust in pattern. While it can be argued that Kant’s moral doctrine upholds the decease punishment. it is an inherently contradictory place. since capital penalty violates two basic rules of Kantian ethical motives. Utilitarianism. regulation. and act. is concerned with the greater societal good. This can bring forth a myopic justness system that can neglect to see the contexts of an individual’s offense since it is most concerned with the larger result of moral judgements. Bedau. who entreaties to the Kantian rule sing the built-in value of human existences. expresses the most convincing positions on capital penalty.

Criminals might non move with moral duty ; nevertheless. the province is responsible for patterning moral judgements and behaviour. and can non back retaliatory justness with any grade of rational legitimacy. seventeenth century English philosopher John Locke’s defence of the decease punishment was on moral evidences. He felt that although the right to life is built-in and absolute. that it is possible to give up one’s right in perpetrating a offense that “deserves death” . His statement is frequently the footing for many of today’s statements for the decease punishment. His thoughts were that the decease punishment is a proper hindrance. that felons would be “terrified” and therefore would non perpetrate offenses that would ensue in the decease punishment. The one thing lost on many that subscribe to this thought. is that the agencies of decease have become much more “humane” in the over 3 centuries since his thought was expressed. What kind of fright is felt by a possible liquidator who is likely to be put down the same manner a ill pet would be? Many find seting their pet “to sleep” to be a positive and healthy experience. why would a condemnable fright a comparatively painless deadly injection over passing the remainder of their life in prison?

The moral solidarity statement states that if society is held together by a consensus of what is considered immoral behaviour. that those who violate the moral order should be punished to reconstruct the moral balance. Murderers should be put to decease. if non merely to warrant the strong sense of indignation felt by the community. However. this entreaties more to the rabble outlook. which an oculus for an oculus is merely and the most effectual signifier of requital. An oculus for an oculus says that the penalty fits the offense. and that killing a slayer is merely. Why does this merely apply merely to liquidators? Why doesn’t society feel that rapers should be punished by colza. or a mugger should be mugged? Is it a general. subconscious feeling of bloodlust among those who are advocates of decease? If we are as a society seeking to discourage slaying. and give an illustration to future coevalss that killing is incorrect. we must halt stooping to the degree of the slayer and make more decease in this universe. There is no ego defence in doing another individual to decease.

I do non believe it can be morally justified to take someone’s life as a consequence of their strong belief of slaying. While the general consensus of advocates of the decease punishment seem to be that they feel it is for the “good of society” . it should be noted that over clip. things we felt were for the “good of society” have in hindsight. been anything but that. The simple fact that one of the chief statements put forth by Locke was formulated centuries ago. this shows that while thoughts can sometimes exceed coevalss. that it is unfastened to more reading than a theory put away in this twenty-four hours and age. I don’t believe decease can of all time be proven morally acceptable when using a punishment to one individual for taking one life. Merely those who genuinely are out to harm the “good of society” . be it through war. terrorist act or possible race murder. can be justifiably killed to protect society at big. A captive behind bars in a contemporary prison is about every bit unsafe to you and me as 1 that has been executed and is six pess under. As for the decease punishment. an oculus for an oculus in kernel punishes no 1. and does non revenge the decease of the victim. merely rushing up the inevitableness of the prisoner’s decease.

Punishment in which one spends the remainder of their lives with all their rights taken off is a sadder destiny for the liquidator than being taken from this Earth. I think Italian philosopher Cesare. Marquise of Beccaria said it best when he stated: “The decease of a felon is a awful but fleeting spectacle. and hence a less efficacious method of discouraging others than the continued illustration of a adult male deprived of his autonomy. condemned. as a animal of load. to mend. by his labor. the hurt he has done to society. If I commit such a offense. says the witness to himself. I shall be reduced to that suffering status for the remainder of my life. A much more powerful preventative than the fright of decease which work forces ever behold in distant obscureness. ” While people may besides reason that by put to deathing felons. you are discouraging one from taking another innocent’s life. There has been small to demo that provinces with the decease punishment are any better than provinces without it at forestalling slaying from happening. One thing that is for certain. is offenses and slaying will ever happen. guiltless lives will ever be affected and be lost.

The decease punishment does non merely neglect to forestall guiltless life from being killed. but increases the opportunity of a wrongly convicted single losing their ain. If there is no worse offense than an guiltless individual losing their life in cold blood. therefore asking the decease punishment. isn’t it morally condemnable that one who is wholly guiltless in God’s eyes can be put to decease? If the decease punishment is moral. how can it be moral if inexperienced persons are sometimes executed? One chief unsound statement people will set Forth is that they believe that since the Bible says slaying is punishable by decease. that is why it is right and moral. However. harmonizing to the bible. the other undermentioned Acts of the Apostless are punishable by decease: Exodus 21:15 “Anyone who attacks his male parent or his female parent must be put to decease. ” Exodus 21:16 “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to decease. ” Exodus 21:17: “Anyone who curses his male parent or female parent must be put to decease. ” How is it that people can pick and take what words of God they wish to follow?

Don’t we as a society believe that the events. punishable by decease in the Bible. while incorrect. are non worthy of the decease punishment? Then why is it people continue to cite the “eye for an eye” of the Bible. but disregard whatever else they choose to? Shouldn’t this be cause for some to rethink the stance put away in the Bible as being out of day of the month? Sing no maximal security prisons existed that could protect society from unsafe felons. wouldn’t people try to understand the context of the usage of the decease punishment 2000 old ages ago? The quest for retaliation can go a barbarous rhythm. Those turning up with the mentality that we must ever. no affair the cost. seek retaliation against those who cause us injury. This type of mentality basically teaches people that retaliation is alright. if you determine what they have done is crying plenty to justify said retaliation. and any response. no affair how inhuman. is justified. The terminal can warrant the agencies. Turning up as a immature male child. I. like most kids. attended church. played with friends. and I found my portion of problem. In church I learned an oculus for an oculus. at place. I learned that two wrongs didn’t make a right. and like most kids. was confused by the contradiction these opposite positions created. Why is it that if I get knocked down into the soil. it doesn’t do it right to return the onslaught in sort?

Why is it that if one takes a life. taking the killer’s life makes it alright? Why as a society do we learn our kids that it’s merely right to forgive and turn the other cheek when our piques are flared to the point that we seek the blood of the convicted and condemned? Often times. it is brought up that reprobating the liquidator to decease gives closing to the households. I have been asked before. since I have presented an anti-death punishment stance. what would I make if my ain female parent or girlfriend was murdered? I would no doubt experience intense heartache. I would no doubt experience a enormous sum of choler towards the slayer. I would without any uncertainty want to bring down injury on the 1 who caused such great hurting to me. The job is I “can’t see the forest for the trees” sing my mental engagement.

That is why we as a society dole out justness as guiltless 3rd parties. That is why our society as a whole determines what is morally right. and attempts to hold a sympathetic but just oculus when convicting and condemning liquidators. In summing up. my personal position on the decease punishment is non borne of compassion. it is non because I feel that the ways the condemned are put to decease are inhumane. or that it is barbarian. It merely doesn’t make sense to me. I read the statements for. and it ever seems to me like hold oning at straws. Until it is proven to me that there is a cosmopolitan stance by those who keep the decease punishment on the books in the United States of America. and that concluding isn’t archaic and contradictory. my position will be there is no good ground that decease is proper penalty.


Donald C. Abel. . Fifty Readings in Philosophy. 2nd. McGraw-Hill HumanitiesSocial SciencesLanguages. 2003. Ernest Van Den Haag. The Death Punishment: A Argument. ( 1983 )
Hugo Adam Bedau. The Death Penalty in America. 3rd Edition. ( Oxford. United kingdom: Oxford University Press. 1982 ) Immanuel Kant. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals ( Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy ) . Mary Gregor ( Ed ) . ( Cambridge. United kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 1997 ) John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism and Other Essays. Alan Ryan ( Ed. ) . ( New York: Viking Press. 1987 ) Mark Costanzo. “Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Justified. ” Capital Punishment ( San Diego: Greenhaven Press. 2000 ) Richard Brandt. “The Utilitarian Theory of Criminal Punishment. ” Ethical Theory ( New York: Prentice-Hall. 1959 ) The Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version. ( Philadelphia: Westminster. 1952. )

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