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Death Penalty, Kantian Ethics, and Utilitarianism - Essay Example

The argument that almost everyone would prefer life imprisonment than execution is often put forward by these people. But I do not agree at all with this argument as it does not hold any weightage in my point of view.
My first argument against the claim of these activists is that they are talking solely about the preference of the criminals who commit capital crimes. They are not taking in the full picture here. The simple and straight forward truth of the matter is that most of these so called human right activists belong to either the neutral group or the group whose relatives or friends are facing such punishments. If you ask from the person who has lost a love one at the hands of these criminals, he would never advocate anything less than a death penalty for the guilty one. And it is their opinion that should hold more weightage, the one who has been wronged has the final say in deciding to punish the wrong doer, not the wrong doer himself. If the argument is that we should think humanely when dealing with these criminals, then my question is simple in this regard; is the killing of another person humane? If it is not, and I am sure you would agree that it is not, then the criminals who are guilty for murder have no right to ask for a humane punishment themselves. The supporters of utilitarianism will probably retaliate to this by asking of the specific usefulness of this particular act, i.e. putting a murderer to death. The utilitarian approach holds that all actions should be judged of their usefulness by looking at their consequences. The best action, according to this philosophy, is the one that maximizes the overall happiness. So, they hold the argument that life imprisonment isolates the bad people from the society forever, which should result in the satisfaction of all, the wronged and the wrong doers and the society in large. Then why opt for such a brutal punishment as the death penalty? But do we really know the consequences of any of our action? The repercussions and reverberations of a single action can span decades or even centuries. For me, the threat of an immediate punishment of death is the biggest deterrence humanity has against humans who have forgotten humanity! The fear of this penalty might be stopping many people from taking someone’s life. Because humans instinctively fear all fears, and giving an exemplary punishment to someone instills that fears in the hearts of like-minded people (Rosen, 2003). I am advocating capital punishment only for the people who play any part in the wrongful killing of another human being. Countries that use death penalty for other crimes like drug related etc. should re-analyze their punishments in light of the contemporary deontology philosophy. This philosophy holds out that if harm to a few can save the majority, then it is justified for the greater good, if that harm is an aspect of the greater good itself. Therefore, if by executing someone like Osama bin Laden can remove the unease of a vast majority of the people, and can save lives, than it sure is justified. But drugs and adultery are acts that do not threaten to take someone’s life, so, the countries where death is given in punishment to even these crimes; they should rethink the logic behind it and abolish it (Kamm, 2007). Now we come to the view of the ethical egoists. This philosophy and its adherents say that people ought to act in ...Show more
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Summary

Capital punishment or Death Penalty is still retained extensively around the world, especially in the Muslim nations and United States. According to the most recent statistics, 58 countries still retain it while 97 have completely abolished it…
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