Capital Punishment essay

Capital Punishment essay - Seth Braunstein Sean Stapleton...

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Seth Braunstein Sean Stapleton FWS: The ethics of Killing Tuesday, April 20, 2010 To Kill or not To Kill For centuries, throughout the world, there has been a heated debate of whether capital punishment should be legalized. Many people believe that to protect and better society, the death penalty should be utilized as a normal punishment for those who have committed murder. Others believe that capital punishment is not the answer and there are more just and effective forms of punishment for heinous crimes. I believe that the death penalty should not be considered a form of punishment because punishments should be the least restrictive as possible, such that they are still sufficient in preventing future crime. In this essay I will explain the utilitarian case for why capital punishment is essential to maximize societal happiness and well-being. I will then discuss several justifications for punishments and explain why they support utilitarian theory. And finally, I will analyze why I believe that the utilitarian case for capital punishment is flawed and the reasons why capital punishment should be abolished. Utilitarianism is a moral theory with the belief that everything is based on maximizing happiness or utility, while reducing overall pain and suffering. There are several different utilitarian justifications used to support capital punishment as a means to prevent crime. For example, deterrence is a justification with the purpose to humiliate or punish someone severely enough to deter or prevent them or anyone else from committing that same crime, thus maximizing utility. From a utilitarian perspective, using capital punishment as a deterrent is key, because if we kill those who have murdered or committed fatal crimes, we are forever deterring them from killing again. There is no stronger message that can be sent to the public. As stated by
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Bedau, “the death penalty because of its severity and finality is more feared than imprisonment and deters some prospective murderers not deterred by the threat of imprisonment” (Bedau 711).
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This note was uploaded on 09/07/2011 for the course PHIL 1110 taught by Professor Stapleton during the Spring '10 term at Cornell.

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Capital Punishment essay - Seth Braunstein Sean Stapleton...

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