Issue: is capital punishment (death penalty) moral/ethical?
In Kant’s Categorical Imperative it states that we me must always treat others as an ends, not a means to end. In relation to criminals, if we punish them we are showing respect to their ends because we are treating them in how they think others should be treated. We are not punishing them for our own benefit or even theirs, but because it is conjunction with their ethic that has been supported by their actions.
“If an offender has committed murder, he must die. In this case, no possible substitute can satisfy justice. For there is no parallel between death and even the most miserable life, so that there is no equality of crime and retribution unless the perpetrator is judicially put to death….A society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else’s life is simply immoral.”
– Immanuel Kant in Metaphysics of Ethics
Kant basically had two principles in how we should punish criminals; the first being that only reason we should punish them is because they have committed the crime, and the second being that the punishment must be equal, or parallel, to the crime.
essentially, if you use the moral reasoning of Kant and the Categorical Impactive, capital punishment is moral.
personally though I don’t agree that capital punishment is moral. Even though Kant’s case makes logical sense to me, in my gut it still feels wrong to say that it is okay to judicially kill another person if they killed someone else. I don’t exactly know why my moral compass makes me feel that way, but I usually like to trust my gut instinct. Maybe its because it doesn’t make sense to me that we would kill a person for killing someone?
why do we kill people who kill people to show killing people is wrong?