The pros and cons of capital punishment from all angles.

Essay by somuchpain74College, UndergraduateA, November 2003

download word file, 10 pages 4.3 2 reviews

Downloaded 267 times

Capital Punishment: For and Against

Capital Punishment: For and Against

Thesis One: In principle a case can be made on moral grounds both supporting and

opposing capital punishment. Thesis two: Concretely and in practice, compelling

arguments against capital punishment can be made on the basis of its actual

administration in our society.

Two different cases can be made. One is based on justice and the nature of a

moral community. This leads to a defense of capital punishment. The second is

based on love and the nature of an ideal spiritual community. This leads to a

rejection of capital punishment. A central principle of a just society is that

every person has an equal right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of

happiness." Within that framework, an argument for capital punishment can be

formulated along the following lines: some acts are so vile and so destructive

of community that they invalidate the right of the perpetrator to membership and

even to life.

A community founded on moral principles has certain requirements.

The right to belong to a community is not unconditional. The privilege of living

and pursuing the good life in society is not absolute. It may be negated by

behavior that undermines the nature of a moral community. The essential basis on

which community is built requires each citizen to honor the rightful claims of

others. The utter and deliberate denial of life and opportunity to others

forfeits ones own claim to continued membership in the community, whose

standards have been so flagrantly violated. The preservation of moral community

demands that the shattering of the foundation of its existence must be taken

with utmost seriousness. The preciousness of life in a moral community must be

so highly honored that those who do not honor the life of others make...