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Law & Morality 3600:327: Group 6

Group 6 Bibliography

Ethics of Capital Punishment.

Aikin, Sarah Tischler. "Just Violence: An Aristotelian Justification of Capital Punishment." Dialogue: Journal of Phi Sigma Tau 49.2-3 (2007): 80-8.
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Controversies surrounding the use of the death penalty for crimes of murder have increasingly conflated the issues of practical application and theoretical justification. Certain popular ethical theories are continually appealed to in order to provide theoretical justification for capital punishment while other potential theories have been largely overlooked. This paper offers an analysis of Aristotelian ethical theory as the basis for a theoretical justification of capital punishment.

Ataner, Attila. "Kant on Capital Punishment and Suicide." Kant-Studien: Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft 97.4 (2006): 452-82.
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From a juridical standpoint, Kant ardently upholds the state's right to impose the death penalty in accordance with the law of retribution. At the same time, from an ethical standpoint, Kant maintains a strict proscription against suicide. The author proposes that this latter position is inconsistent with and undercuts the former. However, Kant's division between external (juridical) and internal (moral) lawgiving is an obstacle to any argument against Kant's endorsement of capital punishment based on his own disapprobation of suicide. Nevertheless, Kant's basic conception of autonomy underlies both of these otherwise distinct forms of lawgiving, such that acts of suicide and capital punishment are rendered equally irrational within his overall framework.

Black, Lee, and Robert M. Sade. Lethal Injection and Physicians. 298 Vol. , 2007.
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This article discusses lethal injection in the U.S., physician participation and medical ethics. Controversy surrounds the practice for many reasons including variables in the drugs used and the personnel who perform it. It is the position of the authors that it is the job of the penal community to conduct executions and not the job of physicians for whom it violates medical ethics and could result in punishment by medical boards.

Blount, Douglas K. "Euthanasia, Capital Punishment and Mistakes-are-Fatal Arguments." Public Affairs Quarterly 10.4 (1996): 279-90.
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Consider arguments against liberal euthanasia laws grounded on the fact that mistakes made in euthanasia programs are likely to result in the deaths of innocent persons. Such arguments present difficulties for supporters of capital punishment who find them compelling. For, of course, parallel arguments are available to opponents of capital punishment. And, if such arguments count against euthanasia, it's difficult to see why they don't count against capital punishment. I argue that such arguments do count against euthanasia but not capital punishment. In so doing, I argue that there's an important evidentiary difference between euthanasia candidates and capital punishment candidates.

Brugger, E. C. "Catholic Moral Teaching and the Problem of Capital Punishment." Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review 68.1 (2004): 41-67.
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The purpose of the essay is to provide an interpretation of the death penalty teaching of the present Magisterium of the Catholic Church, expressed in particular in the death penalty teaching of the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church' (1997). The essay concludes that the Catechism text, while not explicitly stating that the death penalty is in itself wrong, lays down premises which when carried to their logical conclusions, yield just such a conclusion. After criticizing common objections to this conclusion, it asks: may the church, constrained by her own doctrinal tradition, legitimately teach in a definitive way that capital punishment is 'per se' wrong?.

Cholbi, M. "Race, Capital Punishment, and the Cost of Murder." Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition 127.2 (2006): 255-82.
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I offer two arguments for a moratorium on capital punishment based on the evidence of racial discrimination against minority defendants and minority victims. In effect, the American criminal justice system fails to assign equal costs to those defendants and victims and, thus, fails to provide racial minorities the equality under the law and discounts the value of their lives and liberties. A moratorium is the least unjust response to such a social injustice. I also reply to the criticism that a moratorium prevents us from executing deserving murderers.

Devine, Philip E. "Capital Punishment and the Sanctity of Life." Midwest Studies in Philosophy 24 (2000): 229-43.
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Secular arguments against the death penalty generally fail, because they do not appeal consistently to the sanctity of human life. For example, the attempt to play the "race card" is both absurd and irresponsible: no one argues that the fact that women are seldom executed as renders capital punishment sexist. The most hopeful approach to the death penalty, and to other life-and-death issues, is the "seamless garment" approach to ethics advocated by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

Garasic, Mirko Daniel. "The Singleton Case: Enforcing Medical Treatment to Put a Person to Death." Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 16.4 (2013): 795-806.
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In October 2003 the Supreme Court of the United States allowed Arkansas officials to force Charles Laverne Singleton, a schizophrenic prisoner convicted of murder, to take drugs that would render him sane enough to be executed. On January 6, 2004 he was killed by lethal injection, raising many ethical questions. By reference to the Singleton case, this article will analyse in both moral and legal terms the controversial justifications of the enforced medical treatment of death-row inmates. Starting with a description of the Singleton case, I will highlight the 'prima facie' reasons for which this case is problematic and merits attention. Next, I will consider the justification of punishment in Western society and, in that context, the evolution of the notion of insanity in the assessment of criminal responsibility during the past two centuries, both in the U.S. and the U.K. In doing so, I will take into account the moral justification used to enforce treatment, looking at the conflict between the prisoner's right to treatment and his right to refuse medication where not justified by outcomes that can be reasonably expected to be positive for the individual. Finally, in contrast with some retributivist arguments in favour of enforced treatment to enable execution, I will propose a possible alternative, necessary if we are to consistently uphold the notion of autonomy.

Gudorf, Christine E. "Christianity and Opposition to the Death Penalty: Late Modern Shifts." Dialog: A Journal of Theology 52.2 (2013): 99.
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This article sketches the shifts in Christian thought and denominations on capital punishment from the early church to today in the United States, and then examines the ethical issues in the administration of capital punishment both before and since the Supreme Count stopped executions in 1972. The conclusion of the article is that overwhelming evidence of the injustice of death sentences could not sway popular support for capital punishment, but evidence that switching to life sentences could save states millions of dollars is swaying many pro-death penalty voters and legislators. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of Dialog: A Journal of Theology is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.).

Kouroutakis, Antonios. "Why Abolish the Death Penalty? Arguments from Madisonian Thought." Amicus Journal.29 (2012): 43.
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The article explores the death penalty from the perspective of American Founding Father and President James Madison. The author argues against the death penalty based on democracy and political thought of Madison on the relationship between majorities and minorities in the rule of law. Madison supported the adoption of a bill of rights during his time. In addition, the article presents arguments for the abolition of the death penalty from morality and aesthetics.

Litton, Paul. "Physician Participation in Executions, the Morality of Capital Punishment, and the Practical Implications of their Relationship." The Journal Of Law, Medicine & Ethics: A Journal Of The American Society Of Law, Medicine & Ethics 41.1 (2013): 333-52.
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Evidence that some executed prisoners suffered excruciating pain has reinvigorated the ethical debate about physician participation in executions. In widely publicized litigation, death row inmates argue that participation of anesthesiologists in their execution is constitutionally required to minimize the risk of unnecessary suffering. For many years, commentators supported the ethical ban on physician participation reflected in codes of professional medical organizations. However, a recent wave of scholarship concurs with inmate advocates, urging the law to require or permit physician participation. Both the anti- and pro-physician-participation literature share a common premise: the ethics of physician participation should be analyzed independently from the moral status of capital punishment. This considerable literature implausibly divorces the ethics of physician participation from the moral status of the death penalty. Any ethical position on physician involvement requires some judgment about the moral status of capital punishment. The article examines anti- and pro-participation arguments to show that each one either is unpersuasive without discussion of the death penalty's moral status or implicitly assumes a view on the social worth of the death penalty. The article then articulates the practical implications of its arguments for both lawmakers and professional medical organizations.; © 2013 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.

Miles, Steven H. "On Joining the Lynch Mob." The American Journal Of Bioethics: AJOB 8.11 (2008): 55-.

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Romanelli, Frank, Tyler Whisman, and Joseph L. Fink. "Issues Surrounding Lethal Injection as a Means of Capital Punishment." Pharmacotherapy 28.12 (2008): 1429-36.
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Lethal injection as a method of state-sanctioned capital punishment was initially proposed in the United States in 1977 and used for the first time in 1982. Most lethal injection protocols use a sequential drug combination of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. Lethal injection was originally introduced as a more humane form of execution compared with existing mechanical methods such as electrocution, toxic gassing, hanging, or firing squad. Lethal injection has not, however, been without controversy. Several states are considering whether lethal injection meets constitutional scrutiny forbidding cruel and unusual punishment. Recently in the case of Ralph Baze and Thomas C. Bowling, Petitioners, v John D. Rees, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Corrections et al, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the lethal injection protocol as carried out in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Most of the debate has surrounded the dosing and procedures used in lethal injection and whether the drug combinations and measures for administering the drugs truly produce a timely, pain-free, and fail-safe death. Many have also raised issues regarding the "medicalization" of execution and the ethics of health care professionals' participation in any part of the lethal injection process. As a result of all these issues, the future of lethal injection as a means of execution in the United States is under significant scrutiny. Outcomes of ongoing legislative and judicial reviews might result in cessation of lethal injection in totality or in alterations involving specific drug combinations or administration procedures.;.

Simson, Rosalind. "Does Capital Punishment Deter Homicide? A Case Study of Epistemological Objectivity." Metaphilosophy 32.3 (2001): 293-307.
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This paper uses the debate about whether capital punishment deters homicide as a case study for examining the claim, made by many feminists and others, that the traditional ideal of objectivity in seeking knowledge is misguided. According to this ideal, knowledge seekers should strive to gather and assess evidence independently of any influences exerted by either their individual and societal circumstances or their moral values. This paper argues that, although the traditional ideal rests on some valid precepts, it is nevertheless untenable. The author goes on to propose an alternative epistemological ideal--one that retains these valid precepts but also recognizes an important and legitimate role for people's circumstances and moral values in their efforts to find knowledge.

Wilson, Bradley. "Justice with Mercy: An Argument Against Capital Punishment." International Journal of Applied Philosophy 26.1 (2012): 119-35.
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My argument assumes that capital punishment is permissible in at least some circumstances. I argue that, even if we think that capital punishment is (sometimes) morally permissible, if we take into account the moral value of mercy, we can see that rejecting capital punishment as a form of punishment is preferable to using it. My argument takes the following form: (1) Capital punishment is not morally required in any case. (2) Mercy is a morally valuable trait; actions that demonstrate mercy have more moral worth than those that do not, ceteris paribus. Thus, a moral viewpoint that incorporates mercy is preferable to one that does not. (3) Not executing those who have committed capital crimes (under some conditions) demonstrates mercy. (4) Just punishment of capital crimes is compatible with showing mercy. (5) Thus, not executing those who have committed capital crimes (under some conditions) is morally preferable to executing them. I conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of my argument. (edited).

Yost, Benjamin S. "Responsibility and Revision: A Levinasian Argument for the Abolition of Capital Punishment." Continental Philosophy Review 44.1 (2011): 41-64.
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Most readers believe that it is difficult, verging on the impossible, to extract concrete prescriptions from the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. Although this view is largely correct, Levinas's philosophy can, with some assistance, generate specific duties on the part of legal actors. In this paper, I argue that the fundamental premises of Levinas's theory of justice can be used to construct a prohibition against capital punishment. After analyzing Levinas's concepts of justice, responsibility, and interruption, I turn toward his scattered remarks on legal institutions, arguing that they enable a sense of interruption specific to the legal domain. It is here that we find the conceptual resources most important to my Levinasian abolition. I argue that the interruption of legal justice by responsibility implies what I call the "principle of revisability." The principle of revisability states a necessary condition of just legal institutions: To be just, legal institutions must ensure the possibility of revising 'any and all' of their rules, principles, and judgments. From this, the argument against capital punishment easily follows. Execution is a legal act, perhaps the only legal act, that cannot be undone. An application of the principle of revisability to this fact leads to the conclusion that legal institutions cannot justly impose capital punishment. After defending these points at length, I conclude with some observations on the consequences of the principle of revisability for law more generally.