Utilitarianism and Capital Punishment:
In Utilitarian theory there is a constant debate within the population to determine whether something is considered ethical, the issue of capital punishment is no different. In regards to this theory, moral judgment is not clear-cut, but rather is circumstantial in nature. Though this is true, generally utilitarian views would side in moral favor with capital punishment. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the morally right decision is the one that creates the most good for the greatest number of people. Therefore, according to this theory a decision should be made in order to create the greatest utility, regardless of the action itself. The umbrella name for this form of ethical theory, of which utilitarianism is a part, is consequentialism. Stating that the action itself should not be judged in order gauge moral justification, but rather the end result is what allows for a reputable solution. This theory can be summarized in three claims known as the consequentialist claim, the happiness claim and the objectivity claim. The first stating that only the goodness of the results should be relevant in evaluating morality, as opposed to the intent. Secondly, only the amount of happiness that is created, or destroyed, by performing the action should be acknowledged. This means that in order for an action to be ethical it must create more happiness for more people than what happiness is lost as a result. Lastly, every person is an equal member in an ethical society; therefore one person’s happiness should not outweigh that of others. Whether you are a convicted criminal, or the president of your church group, your importance in deciding ethicality is the same. In...
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...le are wrongly accused, it is a human duty to be allowed to decide for themselves, such is the case with a jury of your peers.
There are supporters, and protestors, of this practice for a variety of reasons ranging from economical to ethical. The utilitarian view argues that it deters crime, and is a great benefit in creating the greatest utility of happiness. On the other hand, opponents of capital punishment advocate that it violates basic rights that we as humans hold. These, and many more theories, are a major component in understanding the morality of such an action. In order to gauge morality, it is easiest to focus on three things: the motivation, the act itself, and the consequences arising from it. There is no ‘right’ answer in regards to the ethical debate, but through research on prominent ethical theories we can begin to form a personal view on the topic.
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