STUDY QUESTIONS: What is capital punishment? What are the arguments for and against the death penalty? How can we apply utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, virtue ethics, and natural law theory to this issue? ASSIGNMENT: Human beings, as I have argued in my lecture, are fallible: they are capable of making mistakes and do often make them. I also argued that fallibilism is true, namely, the belief that NO justification for a truth claim is final or certain. Can we, especially in light of all the mistakes people make (including mistakes revealed by DNA tests and the inequality, racism and sexism in the justice system), EVER have complete certainty when it comes to our inquiries into whether someone is guilty or not? And if not, do you think our fallibility should preclude the death penalty? After all, it seems as if it is a form of punishment that, should we get it wrong, we cannot self-correct. And this failure can obviously have serious consequences. So, in general, what bearing does fallibility have on this issue of capital punishment? Be sure to read my overview of this argument in one of the readings this week, my piece “The Death of the Death Penalty”. LINKS: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/capitalpunishment/ https://deathpenalty.procon.org/top-10-pro-con-arguments/ VIDEOS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toPDMLT-lb0
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