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The Deontological Views of Capital Punishment Through the Works of Kant’s Categorical Imperative

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Capital Punishment has been used in the United States justice system for many years now, yet one must question whether or not it should be used at all. This paper will look at the Deontological views of capital punishment through the works of Kant’s categorical imperative. Arguments such as the unethical misuse of medical practice by physicians, who swear an oath to do everything in their power to save the lives of the people they care for, while using their expertise on an individual for an execution. Another argument that can be made would be the understanding just what the role of both race and religion may play in making this particular moral issue and question if individuals have a “right to life” and its effect on future execution rulings. Yet we must ask ourselves, can we still justify capital punishment being used today with the same moral standings of Kant’s Categorical Imperative? An alternative method for dealing with individuals rather than simply killing them off, for it is also important to understand the views of whether the ethical practice made by medical physicians, the social attitudes and religious views of capital punishment, and a look into a person’s right to life should play a role in determining the ethical standings of continuing the use of capital punishment in the United States.
Immanuel Kant, a philosopher in the late 1700s, developed what is now known as the categorical imperative which is an important system in determining the moral standings of important issues in regards with an individual’s intuition of moral law. Certain desires a person feels, such as revenge or hatred, are considered what he would call external forces (Wells-Quash,
2010) these external forces could lead individuals to ...


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... alternative method for dealing with criminals that do heinous crimes and use a stable universal law (maxim) to what the categorical imperative intended for the good of everyone.






Works Cited

Bessler, J. D. (2002). America's Death Penalty: Just Another Form of Violence. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 82(1), 13.

Black, L., & Fairbrother, H. (2008). The Ethics of the Elephant: Why Physician Participation in Executions Remains Unethical. American Journal Of Bioethics, 8(10), 59-61.

Iftene, A., & Paşca, N. (2011). RELIGIOUS FOUNDATIONS OF THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE. US-China Law Review, 8(6), 511-547.

Wells, S., Quash.B (2010). Introducing Christian Ethics. Massachetts: John Wiley & Sons. (pp. 121-124).

Young, R. L. (1992). Religious Orientation, Race and Support for the Death Penalty. Journal For The Scientific Study Of Religion, 31(1), 76.


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