Punishment and Loss of Moral Standing

Topics: Crime, Punishment, Law Pages: 1 (282 words) Published: June 11, 2007
In his article "Punishment and Loss of Moral Standing", Christopher Morris explain, in his opinion why the death penalty is a justifiable means of punishment. The author first defines what a punishment is by saying it is an imposition of some pain, unpleasantness, or deprivation for a committed offence. The main purpose of punishment is to teach, either the offender or others, that committing this act is wrong. Morris describes that justice is generally seen as being owed to us or something that everyone deserves to have. He explains that humans generally have what he calls "circumstances of justice" which adults have moral obligations are owed certain moral considerations to each other. Justice consists of three basic moral rights: life, liberty, and property. When a person sacrifices there moral obligations (committing a crime) he or she must also sacrifice there rights (punishments). In his opinion, wrongdoers must lose some of there right by there acts. Morris says ending the life of someone who has broken this "circumstances of justices" should be accepted because they have placed themselves outside of it. Governments utilize the death penalty to deter people from interfering with other peoples natural born rights of life and liberty. In this way rights are not removed from a person because they never possessed the moral obligations in the first place. Morris gives the example of how contract killers, war criminals, and terrorists have no moral right because they don't respect the circumstances of justice. In conclusion, Morris tells us that punishment is justified because they lose the moral rights that they would have been protected from through justice. Moral standing is list by the wrongdoer as with moral rights.
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