HU 245 Unit 6 Discussion Board

What are some of the arguments used for and against capital punishment? (You may want to complete some additional research to add to your knowledge). In your response, apply ethical theory to your position.

According to “Ethics: Theory and Practice,” our textbook, the argument against capital punishment stands based on it being a direct violation of the value of life principal, stating capital punishment is the equivalent of murder, socially committed and directed by society. Even more specifically, the argument against capital punishment compares it to that of committing murder in other instances, comparing the act of murder in society to murder in punishment, and arguing it can not be wrong one way and not the other. Furthermore, capital punishment can be viewed in society as a form of restitution for those affected by the criminal’s acts, and not as a punishment for their wrongdoing, giving motive to murder in civilized society (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2015).

The BBC ethics guide, based on European values, adds to this argument by drawing attention to the possibility of wrongful execution, if the convicted is in fact innocent. Mistakes in criminal justice are not so uncommon that the execution of the wrongfully convicted would be dramatically farfetched (“Ethics-Capital Punishment: Argument Against Capital Punishment,” 2014). In the United States there have been more than 130 people found to be innocent, after having been sentenced to death, and released from the sentence on death row; luckily the time requirement for death row, prior to execution is eleven years, hopefully allowing time for the wrongfully convicted to be exonerated. The death penalty is irreversible, and by sentencing one to it, the government is legitimizing violence as permissible, and in the event advances in technology later prove the executed as innocent, the act of execution can not be reversed (“Ethics-Capital Punishment: Argument Against Capital Punishment,” 2014).

The philosophy that an individual should be punished for flagrant acts speaks to the belief in free will, and that persons must be responsible for their own actions. Kantianism says every rational person should follow specific rules, that would reflect universal law. Kant theorized humans should treat other humans as they wish to be treated highlighting absolute rules that follow in practicing respect of others (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2015), this would support the argument that capital punishment unethical and violates respect for individual life.


Ethics – Capital punishment: Arguments against capital punishment. (2014). Retrieved from

Thiroux, J. R., & Krasemann, K. W. (2015). Ethics: theory and practice. Retrieved January 9, 2020, from!/4/12/4/4/2/2/2@0:77.7!/4/12/4/4/2/2/2@0:77.7.