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exam1phil - Imran Hossain PHIL 140 Professor Yaffe...

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Imran Hossain PHIL 140 Professor Yaffe Take-home Exam I 10/08/07 Philosopher Ernest van den Haag contends that arbitrariness in the administration of the death penalty cannot be used as an objection to it. He says this in response to the claim made by others such as Jeffrey Reiman and Stephen Nathanson that capital punishment, due to its arbitrary nature, is unjust. Nathanson argues that if retribution is not distributed equally, then there must be no retribution. He uses the example of a prize at a child’s birthday party: a contest is held and whoever solves a certain puzzle receives a prize. However, it turns out that there are three children that solved the puzzle but there is only one prize to give. Therefore, the award is given to just one of the children, in this case, Nathanson’s child. This means that the prize was given based on nepotism, an irrelevant fact in the actual solving of the puzzle. Nathanson contends that it would have
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