Caoital Punishment Essay Research Paper Throughout the

Caoital Punishment Essay, Research Paper

Throughout the semester, I have studied many social issues in light of

philosophy. One of these

highly controversial social issues deals with the subject of capital

punishment. It is unfortunate, but our society has evolved to the point

where capital punishment has become a necessary function of modern society.

Simply stated, capital punishment is the execution of criminals, for

committing crimes,

which are regarded as so heinous, that the only acceptable punishment is

permanent removal

from the society in which they could not conform. One of the most

controversial issues argued

when considering capital punishment involves determining whether the

execution of our fellow man is justified, and if can be justified, under

what circumstances is it permissible. There are logical reasons to believe

that the death penalty will dissuade members of society from committing


crimes punishable by execution. Human nature causes one to fear getting

caught and punished for offenses made. As a child, one learns that

disobedience brings punishment. This negative reinforcement, through removal

of freedoms, makes a person less likely to break the rules. As a society,


use the same philosophy that our parents, and grandparents have used by

punishing those who commit crimes. The death penalty deters murder by

injecting the fear of execution into potential killers. People are less

likely to do something illegal if they think that harm will come to

themselves, so the worse the crime, the worse the punishment needs to be.

Thus, speeding in your car is punishable through mere fines, and the

potential loss of you freedom to drive. The more serious the crime, the more

important it is to make the punishment as swift and as appropriate as

possible so as to prevent the recurrence of that criminal act. Essentially,

the punishment should fit the crime. In such a context, the death penalty

makes sense. It is the strongest punishment possible, the removal of all of

an individual’s rights and freedoms. Everyone has a natural fear of death.


is logical to think that the death penalty would discourage murder.

In an article from the American Journal of Sociology, David Philips says,

“(1) Psychological experiments show that people are often deterred from

exhibiting aggression when they see someone else punished for it (2) there


anecdotal evidence that some criminals may have been deterred by the threat

of capital punishment.” A further illustration makes the point even more

clear. I think if someone murdered someone else and as soon as the victim

died, the murderer died as well, the murder rate would be a fraction of what

it is today. Only those killers willing to lose their life would commit the

crime. In the same way, the death penalty can dissuade murder if used with

the proper frequency and speed.

Governments were formed, according to John Locke, to protect the right to

life, the right

to freedom,(liberty) and the right to property. (pursuit of happiness).


rights were absolute,

belonging to all the people. But Locke argued that a person surrenders

his/her rights when

committing even minor crimes. Once rights are forfeited, Locke justifies

punishment for two

reasons: (1) criminals deserve punishment, and, (2) punishment is needed to

protect our society

by deterring crime through example. Thus, society may punish the criminal


way it deems

necessary so to set an example for other would-be criminals. This punishment

includes taking

away his/her life.

What separates crime from punishment, good from evil are not their physical

aspects but

rather their moral aspects. Moral aspects examine the reasons and


behind one’s

actions. People against capital punishment tend to focus on the death

penalty’s physical aspects to

demonstrate that it is the same as murder, while completely ignoring the

moral aspects involved,

therefore, demonstrating their own total lack of moral consistency. The

sentencing objective

based on the principle of “an-eye-for-an-eye”, which means that what one

person has done to

another should also be done to that person in return. Is that not justified

especially in cases of

premeditated murder of another human begin, another life?

The argument which is used by anti-capital punishment advocates is that we

should value all human life, even the most violent and deviant ones. This


of thinking indicates that there is nothing more to humanity than the

physical traits that identify our species. But there is so much more than

just physical traits that distinguish our species. There is an entire

spiritual aspect to

humanity that the critics tend to completely ignore. Anybody can be

physically human. All that

is, is an accident of genetics. It is the spiritual aspects of humanity that

actually define who and

what we are. Being human on a spiritual level means having compassion and

respect for all that

is good and decent. We respect others rights to life, liberty , and

happiness, and we do not

infringe on others inalienable rights for our own benefit. Murderers display

none of those traits.

Our spiritual traits is where our true differences lie. When a culture

develops it’s moral structure to recognize humanity in both a spiritual and

physical aspect, as opposed to a mere physical existence, it will not be


to allow, tolerate, or preserve evil and barbarianism just because it exists

inside a physical human shell. ###

Using a morals arguement, opponents of the death penalty will contend that

execution is the same as murder. They will insist that the use of capital

punishment to stop murder is like fighting fire with fire, and that


the criminal makes the state no better than the murderer. If the death

penalty is murder, then certainly killing someone in a war to defend your

country is murder. Therefore, our country should not fight in any more wars.

This proposition is ridiculous. Even though wars are both barbaric and

tragic, they are often necessary to protect the rights of a group of people,

known as a society. Both war and the death penalty have become necessary


protect every member of society’s rights and freedoms.


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