Nathanson Death Penalty Research Paper

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This paper will focus on whether our society should retain or abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is an important topic because it is portrayed/used as a means of getting even or a severe punishment for one’s actions and or behavior. In this paper I will talk about the debate to retain or abolish the death penalty, using Nathanson and Haag’s morals theories. I will explain first from Nathanson point who is a retributivist, proportionally standard, and abolitionist. Following that I will then go into Haag’s point who is known to be a retentionist, and a consequentialist. The side I will be arguing for is to abolish the death penalty, favoring Nathanson’s theories. Next I will give a counter example to why one would want to retain …show more content…
Nathanson who is an abolitionist is going to answer negatively to this whereas Haag response who is retentionists will answer positively. Nathanson believes the death penalty is immoral, he talks about two versions of what he calls equality, as a retributivist, where the punishment must fit the crime committed. The two versions are strict Lex talionis “eye for an eye” or that the punishment must bring about the same harm to the wrongdoer as it did to the victim. Nathanson argues that there are problems with Lex talionis, it suggests punishments that are morally unacceptable. Nathanson believes that punishment does not need to be hundred percent the same, it just needs to inflict the same amount of suffering. The retributivist Nathanson is he cannot support the death penalty. His theory states that he is proportionality based, where you can choose the highest severity for a crime but never reaching the death penalty. This is where a ranking system is created, setting the most upper limit to life in prison avoiding a barbaric punishment. Nathanson believes that human dignity matters, we may punish people for their crimes but deprive them everything which is what the death penalty does (Nathanson, p.544). The other side to this argument is to retain the death penalty, Haag who is a supporter, defends the morality of the death …show more content…
I agree with Nathanson statement that if we were to take a criminal’s life we are conveying him of being worthless and having no human value. I do not think we should have the option of doing that to anyone. Even though we may hate or have so much anger towards the criminal, we still should not take his life. Also Nathanson says we should respect human dignity and well-being, so we can punish people for the crimes they committed but we should not deprive them of everything which the death penalty does (Nathanson, p. 544). I also think we should abolish the death penalty because killing a human for what they did wrong such as murder, will not solve the problem or give the victim permanent relief, it will only be temporary and we are just as wrong as them when they committed the crime. Nathanson states that this does not solve the problem at all because we are still acting barbarically to those who are guilty of a barbaric crime. If we continue to punish the wrongdoers with the same violent actions, we are setting an example that violence is the answer to our problems and that it is morally right. That is not what should be done we should not have to punish the wrongdoer with a severe punishment like the death penalty to get our point across. Like Nathanson says we should want the state to set the right example, and the only violence that is

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