Capital Punishment: Responses To The Death Penalty

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There are several debatable issues that face our society today, and one of these issues is capital punishment. Also referred to as the death penalty, this issue involves the question of whether it is moral or immoral to kill humans who have been found guilty of a horrible crime, which in most cases is murder. I will defend my position that capital punishment, though immoral in most cases, can be moral in special instances by starting off with addressing the matters of retribution and justice with regards to capital punishment using Kantian and virtue ethics, respectively. Sequentially, I will highlight two objections to my position involving the issues with cost and inhumanity and innocence and offer responses. My first argument begins with …show more content…
He is convicted and sentenced to prison for life. While he is guilty of a terrible crime, taking another person’s life, it was not premeditated and, therefore, not the most extreme form of murder, so it could not necessarily warrant the most extreme form of punishment, the death penalty. (The death penalty cannot be reversed once the execution is completed, so it is the most extreme form of punishment.) However, suppose while serving his sentence in prison, this man grows angry and builds up so much rage that eventually, after actual planning, he goes on to murder one of the guards or another inmate. This crime would be more extreme than the initial one for two reasons. Firstly, it is his second murder, and secondly, it was far more premeditated than his first murder. If it is still not agreed that the death penalty is proportionate to this person’s crime, imagine if he continues to murder other guards and inmates. He is already in prison for life, so the only punishment, aside from additional life sentences, which are going to have no affect on this murderer, that could possibly be implemented at this point is the death penalty. Reason tells us that there ought to be punishment, and in this case, the person has established a history of murdering. It is our duty to offer a just punishment, and …show more content…
It is that last group of people that I am most concerned about at the moment. Killing, as a general rule, is immoral. Is it possible to be a virtuous person and still play a direct role in bringing about the death of another person? This is a tricky question, I admit. I honestly do not full heartedly support the death penalty, but I think there are rare cases in which it would be just and in the best interest of the safety of the general public. Justice can be defined as being “fair, impartial, [and] giving a deserved response” (“List of the Virtues”). If the trial for the crime is fairly administered, and we are certain with no doubt that the person on death row is guilty, the death penalty ought to be justified. Not every crime or even murder mandates the use of capital punishment. However, if the just punishment for the crime is the death penalty, the executioner and those involved in the conviction could still be considered virtuous because they are being just. Inevitably, there are going to be contradictions when it comes to virtues, which is one of the faults of virtue ethics. Even so, there is reason that capital punishment might be morally acceptable in specific cases probably involving

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