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Death Penalty.

Theories involved:
1. The Harm Principle (J,S, Mill)

People should only be prevented from performing an action if the action does harm others
Power of a law enforcement or government to control the action s and freedoms
Everyone has the right to do what is beneficial for one self or the community as long as it
does not violate and hurt other party in any ways.
Killing is not wrong but if the killing exploit an individual then the act violates the Harm

2. Immanuel Kant
Autonomy : An individual is free from any external power or authority without any
attachment, obligation, duties and are legitimate to make own decision that affects his/her
self mentally or physically
Good will and good intention: if the motive behind an action is morally good then the
will is good, but If the action cannot be universalized for everybody regardless the
background of the community for everyone, anywhere, anytime and by any mean, then
the motive is rejectable.
In this case, killing cannot be universalized as it is morally wrong but killing in sense of
war is acceptable. Killing for food is still arguably right.
Virtue Ethics : A soul that said to be properly functioning if an only if the soul is a
rational soul and human. A rational part where we can reason from our actions and wills
over the irrational part of our soul that is desire and appetites.
Natural Law Theories : if an action is against our natural instinct, emotions, or social
relation then it is wrong and vice versa.

Capital Punishment

Form of penalty, usually death, imprisonment with or without labor, whipping is same in
some states

Why Capital Punishment?

All guilty people deserve to be punished
Only guilt people deserve to be punished
Guilty people deserve to be punished in proportion to the severity of their crime
- real justice requires people to suffer for their wrongdoing, and to suffer in a way
appropriate for the crime. Each criminal should get what their crime deserves and in the
case of a murderer what their crime deserves is death ; Justices A.S. Anand and N.P.
Singh, Supreme Court of India, in the case of Dhananjoy Chatterjee

- By executing the convicted murderers, it will eventually deter the would-be criminal
from killing people.
- BUT;
a) evidence doesnt show the effectiveness of this deterrence as well as its
b) Deterring would affect convicts with mental illness and defects
c) Individuals committed the crime in an emotional state and not intended to cause
harm and think of the consequences
d) leverage of deterrence between life imprisonment and death penalty

Deterrence is optimum effectiveness when the punishment happens soon after the
crime, but the investigation whether the convicted do really committed the crime or
not pulls the decision longer
Japanese argument: death penalty reinforces the belief that bad things happen to
those who deserve it. This reinforces the contrary belief; that good things will happen
to those who are 'good'.
In this way, the existence of capital punishment provides a psychological release from
conformity and overwork by reinforcing the hope that there will be a reward in due
Oddly, this argument seems to be backed up by Japanese public opinion. Those who
are in favour currently comprise 81% of the population, or that is the official statistic.
Nonetheless there is also a small but increasingly vociferous abolitionist movement in
From an ethical point of view this is the totally consequentialist argument that if
executing a few people will lead to an aggregate increase in happiness then that is a
good thing. (follows the majority)

Arguments against capital punishment

1. Everyone has an inalienable human right to life, even those who commit murder;
sentencing a person to death and executing them violates that right. (Kants theory)
But, one also has no rights to take on other life as well and this violate the right of free to
Therefore if any man is dangerous to the community and is subverting it by some sin,
the treatment to be commended is his execution in order to preserve the common
good... Therefore to kill a man who retains his natural worthiness is intrinsically evil,
although it may be justifiable to kill a sinner just as it is to kill a beast, for, as Aristotle
points out, an evil man is worse than a beast and more harmful.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae
2. The sooner or later the capital punishment to be conducted, the possibilities of an
innocent to be executed is very much higher.
The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will
inevitably claim innocent victims. As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of
executing the innocent can never be eliminated
Amnesty International
3. Sanitised form of vengeance
For the sake of ratifying the feeling of hatred-call it revenge, resentment, or what you
will-which the contemplation of such [offensive] conduct excites in healthily
constituted minds.. Sir James Fitzjames Stephens, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
4. Uniqueness of death penalty :
- Crimes other than murder do not receive a punishment that mimics the crime - for
example rapists are not punished by sexual assault, and people guilty of assault are
not ritually beaten up.
- BUT, Camus and Dostoevsky says the capital punishment is not fair as the anxiety
of execution outweigh the suffering of the victim of their crime. Often regarded as
double punishment
5. Brutalising individuals
- Death penalty leads to an increase in the murder rates.

6. Expenses
- In the USA capital punishment costs a great deal.

For example, the cost of convicting and executing Timothy McVeigh for the
Oklahoma City Bombing was over $13 million.
In New York and New Jersey, the high costs of capital punishment were one factor in
those states' decisions to abandon the death penalty. New York spent about $170
million over 9 years and had no executions. New Jersey spent $253 million over a 25year period and also had no executions.
Source: Death Penalty Information Center

Those in favour of capital punishment counter with these two arguments: It is a
fallacy that capital punishment costs more than life without parole
Justice cannot be thought of in financial terms