Ernest Van Den Haag Death Penalty Essay

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Discuss in detail the argument Haag gives for the general conclusion that even though the death penalty may be unjust in its distribution, it is nevertheless morally justified. Discuss how Haag is making use of a retributivist theory of punishment in his argument. Critically evaluate Haag’s argument.

Lutevis Holloway
July 29, 2010
Ethics 1103-00

Ernest van den Haag Death Penalty

In this essay, we revisit the late Van den Haag's challenge. Assessing the pros and cons of the death penalty and how Ernest van den Haag feels it’s morally justified. Research results revealed that the death penalty is deemed cruel and unusual punishment to some members of society and an act of justice to others. Thinking at a high level it easy to say that punishment for the sake of punishment is never a good idea; what is the point of incarcerating a person if they do something wrong. This is reflected in the retributivist statement, “eye for and eye”. It really serves no purpose except for the feelings of those who’ve been hurt. This essay will also discuss how Haag uses retributivism to justify the death penalty and capital punishment.

Van Den Haag Death Penalty morally justified…

Ernest Van Den Haag, once a Professor of law argues that the death penalty is entirely in line with the U.S. Constitution and that al-though studies of its deterrent effect are questionable, the death penalty is morally justified and should be retained. Van den Haag's argument that principles of equality should never be enforced at the expense of justice must be re-examined.

“1 Borrowed from the writings of Immanuel Kant, this was van den Haag's rallying cry in countless debates with abolitionists of capital punishment.2 No matter how much racial discrimination is documented, the dispositive question for van den Haag is whether the death penalty was deserved in light of the offender's guilt. "Maldistribution of any punishment among those who deserve it," argues van den...
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