Lex Talionis Morality

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The strongest objection to the principle of lex talionis is its incapability to explain why criminals who intentionally hurt their victims should be punished more than those who unintentionally cause harm, as it highlights the failings of lex talionis to determine equitable punishment (Russ Shafer-Landau, The Fundamentals of Ethics, Fourth Edition, Oxford, 2018). This objection cannot be overcome as it cannot account for the difference in maxims of those who perpetrate the same crime whether it be intentional or not (185). Lex talionis' first fatal flaw of its inability to justly assign punishment to intentional and unintentional criminals is arguably the strongest objection to the principle (185). Lex talionis commands the government to treat…show more content…
The principle claims that an act is morally acceptable if, and only if, its maxim is universalizability (163). A maxim states one's actions and the motivation behind the action (163). "Universalizability is determined following a three-part test. First the maxim needs to be formulated clearly. Next it needs to fit in a world in where everyone supports and acts on the maxim. Finally, it needs to be asked if the goal of the maxim can be achieved by everyone. If the answer to the last question is yes, then the maxim is universalizable" (165). Using the example of the reckless archer who unintentionally skewers their neighbor, the maxim of the archer was not to inflict pain or potentially murder their neighbor and instead was to practice archery in order to improve their technique. This maxim is an example of a goal that can be supported and effectively achieved in the world (165). Unfortunately, the archer in this example made a mistake and unintentionally inflicted harm on another human being. In the real world, the results of actions are often out of the hand of the individual and it is unfair to assign blame for things that individuals cannot dictate (165). Unfortunately for the principle of lex talionis, this objection…show more content…
This objection states that the guidance that lex provides is often wrong as it requires the state to be responsible for inflicting the same deeds on criminals which ultimately compromises the morality of law enforcement (186). This objection is relatively easy to support, however, there is potential to highlight the shortcomings within its argument. For example, it can be argued that there are rare situations in which rape can be justified and therefore not a punishable offence. The claim that there is a situation that rape could ever be considered a feasible action is preposterous in today's society, however, it is a situation in which this objection could be

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