Professional ethics proposal for Essay


Professional Ethics Proposal for Essay

Is it possible to justify capital punishment ethically?


The essay will seek to determine whether capital punishment can be justified ethically. With various scholarly articles and journals, the essay will use ethical perspectives to determine the possibility of ethically justifying capital punishment. From an ethical point of view, capital punishment can be defined as a deliberate execution of an actual or supposed wrongdoer for a certain offence. The essay will examine the topic from utilitarian, Kantian, deontological and functionalist perspective.

Both retributive and utilitarian considerations have been invoked while trying to justify capital punishment. Kant also argues that when an innocent person is deliberately murdered, the killer deserves death. According to Kant, the capital punishment can only be justified in murder, but not other crimes, unless the damage caused by the crime to the society is very substantial. According to Mandery (2011), death penalty can morally be justified by one principle: the punishment should be the same as the nature of the crime and. Across the world, the criminal justice system as it will be evidenced in the essay varies from one society to another (Foucault, 2012). Some societies as cited by Riley (2001) have legitimised ways of imposing capital punishment for a certain criminal. Taking the life of a person according to Dagger (2011) cannot be equated with capital punishment. When acting lawfully the state could utilise force legitimacy where it is not needed (Danaher, 2015).

The essay will focus on utilitarian theory, which argues that capital punishment does not connote offering justice through an ‘eye for an eye’ approach. Still, utilitarianism proponents believe capital punishment can be justified if it deters scores of offenders from committing murder. Capital punishment is morally justified by the theory of Deontology and Utilitarianism. The essay will exhibit how both theories present ethical evidence supporting capital punishment. Some of the studies such as Litton (2013) and Galliher and Galliher (2001) insist that capital punishment is an immoral act that can only be justified legally, but not ethically. Functionalist theory as mentioned by Pope (1975) illuminates a belief as a self-conscious and powerful entity that controls its individual members’ behaviour.

the increasing doubts about its morality and lack of deterrence evidence. The essay will offer both moral and spiritual arguments concerning capital punishment with the objective of determining whether it is fair and could be justified. Some of the studies that provide evidence against justification of capital punishment include Roy (2014) and Marcus (2007). is increasing because of The essay will show the connection between this theory and the proponents of capital punishment by reviewing Weatherby et al. (2012) and Bailey (1995) studies. The opposition of capital punishment according to Dezhbakhsh and Shepherd (2003)

In Australia, capital punishment was abolished in all States in the mid-1980s (Hood & Hoyle, 2009; Boss, 1999). The last executions in Australia happened in the mid-1960s and Western Australia was the last state to abolish the death penalty (Chan & Oxley, 2004). Capital punishment according to Public opinion polls is supported by most people (Potas & Walker, 1997). Under federal law, the death penalty was abolished completely in Australia by the Commonwealth Death Penalty Abolition Act 1973 (Hood & Deva, 2013; O’Neill et al., 2004; Heller & Dubber, 2010). To preclude the utilisation of capital punishment under territory or state law, the federal government introduced the Crimes Legislation Amendment Act 2010. This Act according to Lennan and Williams (2012) prevents all Australian states and territories from reintroducing capital punishment.

Virtue-based theorists believe that capital punishment can be justified as long as it promotes and respects the moral goodness and values of the society (Caravelis & Robinson, 2015). Still, it is hard to persuasively argue that death penalty is moral, valuable or right when it is unequally applied or does not respect liberty (Robinson, 2011). Capital punishment according to abolitionists is uncivilized and immoral (Lambert & Clarke, 2001). With review to Lambert et al. (2004) study, the essay will link the morality position of abolitionists towards death penalty.


In view of utilitarian, Kantian, deontological and functionalist perspective, it is evident that capital punishment can be justified ethically. Still, the studies that have utilised deterrence to justify capital punishment bear the burden of demonstrating that executing a murderer is a deterrent. As it will be evidenced in the essay, deterrence does not provide ethical justification of capital punishment, but the ethical perspective provides substantial arguments that justify it. Therefore, capital punishment can be justified ethically if it involves a murder case or a crime that bring about enormous damage to the society.


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