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Research Paper on an Ethical Argument for Capital Punishment

Research papers on an ethical argument for capital punishment present the death penalty issues in a pro-death penalty light. Capital punishment has many different ethical issues involved in it and Paper Masters can custom write a research paper on any of the sociological arguments that favor capital punishment.

The purely ethical argument for capital punishment is discussed by many research papers on the death penalty.  Capital punishment research papers note that two arguments can be made in favor of the death penalty:

  1. Capital punishment serves the purpose of social utility in that it deters people from committing the crime of murder
  2. Capital punishment represents the “just desert” of those who have committed the crime of murder. 
Ethical Argument for Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment and Social Unity

The argument for the social utility of the death penalty, the deterrence argument, has received a great deal of attention throughout the history of the  controversy.  At a later point in this term paper—-when the research paper argues that the death penalty is not administered fairly in the real world—-the student should have more to say about this. Here the student should attempt to argue that even if it could be shown that the deterrence effect actually occurs, that that does not, by itself alone, justify the death penalty.

The Problem With Capital Punishment

The problem with the deterrence argument is that it ignores two facts:

  1. There are other ways in which murder can be deterred; 2
  2. Even if the death penalty were the only way to deter murder, that does not justify its use. 

With respect to the first point, deterrence can be accomplished in many different ways.  No one is here suggesting that a life sentence in prison should be made an easy thing and it must surely be the case that anyone contemplating the destruction of another human being will be deterred by the prospect of spending the rest of his/her life behind bars.  With respect to the second point, there are some things too barbarous to be used no matter how beneficial they might prove to be as instruments of deterrence.  That is why the constitution bans cruel and unusual punishments.  If the death penalty is viewed solely in terms of its usefulness and that is to be the sole determinant of its ethical nature, then one could argue that the state should torture offenders if that would prove to have a deterrent effect.  Obviously we have advanced beyond that position, and it is my hope that we will one day advance beyond the death penalty as well.  Again, any term paper on the ethics of the death penalty may wish to emphasize that the certainty of a sentence of life behind bars is a potent deterrent.

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