Capital Punishment in film “Dead Man Walking”

Capital Punishment in film “Dead Man Walking”  Essay example
Undergraduate
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Philosophy
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This essay will critically examine cases such as those in the film “Dead Man Walking” through the lens of Kant, Mill’s and Aristotle’s ethical philosophies. This case can serve as something of a testing ground for when capital punishment would be the most justified…

Introduction

The film “Dead Man Walking” depicts the appeal process faced by a convicted murderer, and how his crime, trial and acts on death row affect himself, a nun who is working with him on his appeal, and the families of the victims. It invokes some of the hardest and most troubling questions facing society today such as: does the state have the right to kill its own citizens? and ‘is it ever right to kill?’. Philosophers and thinkers have been struggling with these same questions for thousands of years. Somewhat surprisingly in a field where many experts disagree with each other, three of the greatest pillars of Western Philosophy over the past two thousand years, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill and Emmanuel Kant are all staunchly in favour of the death penalty as a punishment for murder. Even more surprisingly, all three philosophers justify their defence of capital punishment through three amazingly different theoretical frameworks, all coming to the same conclusion through very different means. All three philosophers, however, have serious flaws in their arguments for capital punishment (especially when considered in today’s society) and strong arguments against capital punishment can still be made.
This essay will critically examine cases such as those in the film “Dead Man Walking” through the lens of Kant, Mill’s and Aristotle’s ethical philosophies. This case can serve as something of a testing ground for when capital punishment would be the most justified. ...
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