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Unformatted text preview: Primoratz – Justifying Legal Punishment • Assumes a Retributive theory of justice i.e. that punishing a person who has committed a crime is just • Argues that the arguments against capital punishment are not good ones o Right to life is then violated. o Criminal Law is contradictory if there is a death penalty. o Human lives are so different that such a punishment is not equitable. o The waiting for the death penalty to be carried out is cruel and unusual. o Possibility that an innocent person is executed. o The inequity of the death penalty in terms of race and class. Nathanson – An Eye for an Eye? • Rejects the ‘eye for an eye’ theory of justice ( lex talonis ) • Problems with Strict Retributivism o Impossible to determine exactly what punishments should be given to whom • Accepts Proportional Retibutivism o But this does not tell us what the upper limit of the punishment should be, just that the worst crimes should receive the harshest punishments. The harshest punishments might merely be life imprisonment and not the death penalty. o Proportional Retributivism does not provide justification for the death penalty • Some considerations on abolishing capital punishment o The deontological argument against capital punishment o No matter what people do they still have some rights • The right not to be treated in cruel and unusual ways, “No matter how terrible a person’s deeds, we may not punish him in a cruel and unusual way. We may not torture him for example.” o Some rights people posses merely in virtue of being human rather than in virtue of anything they have or have not done “According to the view I am defending, people do not lose all of their rights when they commit terrible crimes.” “What I am suggesting is that by renouncing the use of death as a punishment, we express and reaffirm our belief in the inalienable, unforfeitable core of human dignity. o The utilitarian argument against capital punishment “Why should we do this? Partly out of respect for human dignity. But also because we want the state to set an example of proper behavior. We do not want to encourage people to resort to violence to settle conflicts when there are other ways available. We want to avoid the cycle of violence that can come from retaliation and counter retaliation. . . .” Singer – Famine, Morality, and Affluence •...
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This note was uploaded on 01/27/2012 for the course PHI 2630 taught by Professor Tostenson during the Fall '08 term at University of Florida.
- Fall '08