The Death Penalty In Stephen Nathanson's An Eye For An Eye?

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Death Penalty is a very ominous punishment to discuss. It is probably the most controversial and feared form of punishment in the United States. Many are unaware, but 31 of the 52 states have the Death penalty passes as an acceptable punishment. In the following essay, I will agree and support Stephen Nathanson's statement that "Equality retributivism cannot justify the death penalty." In the reading, "An Eye for an Eye?", Nathanson gives objections to why equality retributivism is morally acceptable for the death penalty to be legal. The first objection is that the death penalty does not "provide a measure of moral desert" (Nathanson). For the second, Nathanson states "it does not provide an adequate criterion for determining appropriate levels of punishment." The main objection is an "eye for an eye", or Lex talionis, and I believe it fails to support equality retributivism and creates punishments that are morally unacceptable. There is no way that …show more content…

In other words, "what people deserve is determined by what they do as agents." For example, applied strictly, if someone steals from another person, then the thief must have the same thing happen to him, and be stolen from. In this case, the punishment is equal to the crime. This is where Nathanson's objection of "moral desert" comes into play. "Moral desert" is just a philosophical notion that a person deserves something based on his or her actions, and it is not cleared up by equality retributivism because equality retributivism calls for us to "behave barbarically to those who are guilty of barbaric crimes" (Nathanson). Another example of this is imagine a rapist. It would be barbaric and morally unacceptable to rape the rapist. Even though it may seem that those who kill should be killed themselves, it really isn't moral and is not universally

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