Caoital Punishment 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 those 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, we 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. It 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 is 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). These 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 any 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 motivations 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 way 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 able 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 executing 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 to protect every member of society’s rights and freedoms. Philosophy Essays.