Capital Punishment Essay

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Capital Punishment

     Many positions can be defended when debating the issue of capital punishment. In Jonathan Glover's essay "Executions," he maintains that there are three views that a person may have in regard to capital punishment: the retributivist, the absolutist, and the utilitarian. Although Glover recognizes that both statistical and intuitive evidence cannot validate the benefits of capital punishment, he can be considered a utilitarian because he believes that social usefulness is the only way to justify it. Martin Perlmutter on the other hand, maintains the retributivist view of capital punishment, which states that a murderer deserves to be punished because of a conscious decision to
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It is difficult to determine whether alterations in the murder rates and the presence of capital punishment have a causal relationship. The only other method of justifying the deterring ability of the death penalty is through an intuitive argument. Hypothetically, if a person knows that murdering another will result in their own execution, he or she will not commit the crime. The intuitive argument fails however, because murderers do not face certain death when they go to trial. The long-term effects of murder seem so distant that capital punishment may fail to act as a deterrent at all. Such is the case with cigarette smokers. Any educated person knows that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer and many other fatal health problems. The negative results of this activity are so distant though, that people believe that "it will not happen to me." Another failure in the intuitive argument defending the deterring ability of the death penalty is whether it actually serves as a greater deterrence than life imprisonment. Bodily mutilation may deter many people from committing a multitude of crimes, however this sort of punishment is inconceivable in American society. Glover does not believe that the argument of deterrence can be effectively

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