Philosophy Ethics and the Death Penalty

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Philosophy Ethics and the Death Penalty

By | April 2013
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Matthew Bojanowski
Dr. James Delaney
PHI 206
Assignment #4

Ernest Van den Haag strongly contends the need for capital punishment in our society in his article. Van den Haag provides a substantial amount of convincing facts and information to support “The Ultimate Punishment”. Van den Haag discusses such topics as maldistribution, deterrence to society, miscarriages of the penalty, and incidental and political issues (cost, relative suffering, and brutalization). The death penalty is indeed the harshest/ultimate punishment a convicted criminal can receive in our society. I agree with Van den Haag’s article. I am in favor of the death penalty system in the United States. Through capital punishment’s determent process, I feel it is a necessary and effective tool in implementing a type of ultimatum to basic life in our legal system. The ethical theory of consequentialism is often referred with capital punishment. Consequentialism mainly points out the benefits of the death penalty to society, like deterrence.

Van den Haag begins his argument for the use of the death penalty by talking about how it is distributed throughout society. He confronts the frequent argument that the death penalty is ineffective too often because it conflicts with discrimination and arbitrarily classifies the alleged guilty suspects. Van den Haag determines that since he and many people in the world consider capital punishment to be moral, then no distribution can make the punishment immoral. He concludes that any improper distribution can’t affect the quality of what is distributed. To put this in simpler terms, since we live in a democratic, civilized world, the gender or race of a person does not at all affect the death penalty system because everyone is treated the same by our legal system no matter what their skin color, maturity level, financial income, or role in society. Therefore, Van den Haag is stating that maldistribution is irrelevant when attempting to argue against the...