Capital Punishment In Stephen Nathanson's An Eye For An Eye?

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Stephen Nathanson’s argument in “An Eye for an Eye?” stresses the need to do away with the ultimate form of punishment; the death penalty. Nathanson compares the ancient principle of equal retaliation to the current idea of capital punishment. He provides moral arguments for preserving the sanctity of human life as he points out the flaws with murdering killers. The views of other scholars of philosophy are cited by Nathanson and then analyzed for their invalid points. Nathanson first describes the problems with the lex talionis principle, or the idea of “an eye for an eye”. He says it basically tells us to perform unquestionably wrong actions on others. For example, a rapist would have to be raped and a torturer be tortured. This comes as …show more content…
It is now“...a metaphorical disguise for expressing a belief in the death penalty”(Shafer-Landau 382). It is no longer a concept, but rather a catchphrase validating capital punishment. It therefore fails to define what punishment is adequate or how criminals deserve to be treated. This is especially important in those cases where is is too difficult to apply a punishment. These would again include things like drunk driving and terrorism. Nathanson points out the immense problem in deciding what amount of pain a punishment would provide and whether that would be enough to equal the crime the person …show more content…
It should have a general application. Certain crimes with set criteria should be deserving of execution, but too often other factors come into play. The legal system has its own faults and loopholes that allow guilty people to go free and innocent ones to remain incarcerated. Innocent people who have been mistakenly found guilty may end up spending years on death row not knowing when the ultimate punishment will be dealt out to them. This goes against American ideas of fairness and equal representation.
Additionally the death sentence has its own racial bias. NPR reports that there is a link between what kind of victims a murderer targeted and if the murderer was put on death row. In terms of execution cases, “Black defendants had killed 270 white victims and 152 black victims. The white defendants who were executed killed 696 white victims and 20 black victims.”(Chow) Clearly minorities are receiving unequal justice before the law, leading to an obvious reason to not support the death penalty. In such an unfair system, taking lives away should not be an

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