Final Study Guide - Punishment Pojman Support of the death...

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Punishment: Pojman: Support of the death penalty Retributivist argument Those who work hard for worthy goals deserve reward, those who do not make the effort deserve nothing, and those who purposefully do evil deserve punishment The virtous deserve to flourish to the degree of their virtue, the vicious deserve to suffer to the degree of their vice o Justice as dessert: people get what they deserve Opposite of Rawls theory of justice as fairness- believes he is wrong here Our effort/contribution is worthy of moral assessment and as agents can be held responsible for them Without the concept of dessert, responsibility has no validity- without responsibility neither morality nor law has a foundation Offender deserves a punishment appropriate to the severity of the crime When offender takes the life of an innocent person, he or she forfeits his or her own right to live Main point of retributivist theory: not only is the death penalty permissible for the murdered, he deserves it o Kant (complete retributivist): holds that all and only those who are guilty should be so punished o Moderate retributivist: only the guilty should be punished, but not necessarily all the guilty Giving people what they deserve is a prima facie duty- not an absolute non- overridable one We can override justice due to mitigating circumstances- external cost of punishment, possibility of reform etc may prescribe lesser degrees of punishment than are deserved o Does the state violate the criminals right to life? Doubling the evil by executing the murder Murdered volunteered for the crime- had reason to believe that he would be justly and severely punished for the crime (no reason to complain when the state executes him) Murderer violated the right to life of the victim, thereby forfeiting his own prima facie right to life As long as due process of the law has been observed, condemning a murdered to death is both legally and morally justified Utilitarian argument: o Deters would-be offenders from committing first degree murder- if the death penalty deters, we have an argument for its use Evidence is inconclusive to whether or not the death penalty deters murders If would-be criminal estimates punishment to be mild- crime becomes inversely attractive and vice versa If would-be criminal judges punishment to be imprisonment or death- would
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be more deterred from committing a crime then if he judged he would only be punished by imprisonment o Common-sense case for deterrence Deters murderer from any further murders Stats cannot tell us how many potential criminals have refrained from taking another persons life through fear of death penalty People are more likely to be deterred by greater punishments (like the death penalty), than by lesser punishments (imprisonment) o Best Bet argument: Betting against DP: bet against innocent and for the murderer Betting for DP: bet against murderer and for innocent
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Final Study Guide - Punishment Pojman Support of the death...

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