Addition to lecture notes on Wellman text, last updated 6-24-96.
Comments, additions, and corrections are welcome.  
Please send them to Michael Kagan
Le Moyne College Department of Philosophy
Syracuse, NY 13214
Capital Punishment

XVI Is Capital Punishment ever right? Wellman,Chapter  11
A. Arguments for capital punishment

1. Prevention
2. Deterrence
3. Retribution
4. Self-defense
5. Fulfilling a duty

B. Arguments against capital punishment

1. The moral law (usually conceived as divine moral law or self-evident truth)
2. Monstrous harm
3. Unnecessary evil
4. Irremediability
5. Corrupting influence

C. Criticisms of some arguments:

1. The moral law
a) The moral law via scriptures-some traditional difficulties (contextual, higher, philosophical criticism)
b) The moral law via intuition-if rational persons disagree can there be a self- evident principle (discuss problems of intuitionism and multiple systems)
2. Deterrence
a) the problem of reform
b) the problem with the statistics
c) who deterred [the dilemma]

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