February 1, 2013
PHIL 213/ Spring 2013
Death Penalty: Just or Unjust
The death penalty has come to be a very huge deal in the 21st century. Back in the day, this was the only way people felt they can punish others for breaking the law. There are many people that are for the death penalty then individuals who are opposed to it. Though, a question to really ask ourselves is what truly qualifies a person to receive the death penalty. As children we were always taught the golden rule; treat others the way you want to be treated. Immanuel Kant believes in the “eye for an eye” principle. What ever a person does, it should be affiliated to what that person deserves. Kant states, “Accordingly, any undeserved evil that you inflict on someone else among the people is one that you do to yourself” (481). What ever harm you are committing to others, you are committing to yourself with an example he has given, “if you kill him, you kill yourself” (481). To me, this conclusion is very reasonable because it is known that if you carry out a murder, the chances are you may be sentenced to death. Therefore you ARE killing yourself. Likewise, Ernest van den hag believes in the death penalty as well. More so that the fact that deterrence will make people more afraid of committing a murder. People fear death more than anything else in most cases which should bring the homicidal rates down. Some may argue that the death penalty is an unjust way of punishment. Jeffrey Reiman believes that being sentenced to life in prison without parole is an equal form of punishment that is accepted. “…Life in prison is still life, however unpleasant. In contrast, the death penalty does not just threaten to make life unpleasant—it threatens to take life all together” (Reiman 492), he explains. This is true because being sent to prison takes away all aspects of living and being free in society. Their homes, families, friends and everything they’re used too is being...
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