Two Views of Capital Punishment Essay

1283 Words 6 Pages
Capital punishment has been a debatable subject for decades. Human thinking often ignores the equal-value relationship when it comes to the taking of life. Attention shifts from the victim’s life to that of the murderer. Immanuel Kant believes that moral laws apply equally, and if someone breaks the law, we should make sure that the law applies to everyone. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be such thing as morality. And without morality, life is meaningless. We should be morally strong and be able to kill the criminals, in order to prove that the laws are more important than human life.

On the other hand, John Stuart Mill states that breaking the law is part of utility. Although he thinks that the most appropriate punishment for a murderer is
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After researching and learning the beliefs and theories of each philosopher, I can conclude that I agree with Kant on the death penalty issue. I strongly agree with the belief that “we shall treat others the same way we want to be treated”.

Even though Mill does support capital punishment, he doesn’t stress the proper way of punishment as much as Kant does, which is the criminal’s life. The value we put on something is usually indicated by the price we are willing to pay. Should the value of an innocent murder victim’s life be reduced to that of mere stolen or damaged property, to be compensated by just a prison term? Apparently many think so. Does unequal application of the law in favor of certain groups make capital punishment invalid? According to this reasoning, because different judges for the same crimes often hand out unequal sentences, all criminals should be set free! In relation to our rules of evidence Mill thinks these are too favorable to the prisoner; and juries and Judges carry out the maxim,“ It is better that ten guilty should escape that one innocent person should suffer" (Mill 70) His proposition of making a person spend the rest of his life analyzing and regretting his crime, suffering in a sell sounds promising, but it’s not enough.

The death penalty doesn’t discourage persons from committing murders. Some may respond that the deterrent value of capital punishment is unproved. But if we
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