Capital Punishment: Why Death Penalty Is Morally Permissable

2443 words 10 pages
Capital Punishment: Why the Death Penalty is Morally Permissible

Karina Morgan
April 13, 2010
Professor Mark Reynolds
PHI 206 Sec. 04
Word Count: 1,910

Syllogism for Argument:

1. Every human has a right to life 2. But this right is not absolute because a person’s life can be overridden for good reasons 3. So the right of life does not hold in every situation no matter what 4. One of these situations includes taking the life of another innocent human 5. Therefore, it is morally permissible to set the right to life aside, and use the death penalty, if they took the life of an innocent human.


I. The Death Penalty
-Thesis- Although all humans have the right to life, there are certain
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We can set their right to life aside because they have taken away the right to life of innocent people.
I am arguing as a retentionist for the death penalty, meaning I support the death penalty and I think it should be used in all states. The first advantage to using the death penalty is the benefits of retribution. In order to serve justice for the act the murderer has committed, it is necessary to end their life as a deserving punishment. I do not necessarily agree with the retributivist or Kant in the sense of “an eye for an eye”, but I do think that if a person decides to take the life of another human then at the moment they are assuming the risk of receiving the death penalty. As Ernest van den Haag states “By committing the crime, the criminal volunteered to assume the risk of receiving a legal punishment that could have been avoided by not committing the crime.” (Vaughn 262) When justice is served it also helps the victim’s family feel safer and more at peace when they know that the murderer will never be able to commit another act of violence or take another life. If they are only sentenced to prison with no parole, they are still able to commit murders to other cellmates or officers. Although I am a believer of retribution and that justice should be served for the crime committed, I do not