The Instigator
foulmat18
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
TheUnexaminedLife
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points

Death Penalty

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
TheUnexaminedLife
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/29/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 991 times Debate No: 102292
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

foulmat18

Con

I will be arguing against the death penalty.

Round 1:
-acceptance
Round 2:
-argument, no rebuttals
Round 3:
-rebuttals
Round 4:
-rebuttals, no new arguments
TheUnexaminedLife

Pro

Though I am personally against capital punishment, as the polemic I am, I would love to try argue on the opposite side of the debate and deconstruct some of your arguments.
I await your response...
Debate Round No. 1
foulmat18

Con

Thanks for accepting :) I admire people arguing topics the personally don't agree with. Good Luck!

Capital punishment does not work. There are three key reasons that support this fact. First, is the murder of innocent defendants. Second, is the exponential costs. And third, is the lack of morality in killing another human.
Let"s begin by looking at the first point: the murder of innocent defendants. Imagine sweat sliding out of your pores, drenching your forehead and racing past your eyes. Imagine your stomach swirling back-and-forth, flipping around as if it is on the world"s scariest roller coaster. Imagine sleeping through the agonizing nightmare of dying, only to wake up to realize it"s your reality. Imagine waiting on death row, when you know you"re innocent.

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [1], if all death-sentenced defendants remained under sentence of death indefinitely, at least 4.1% would be exonerated. This is a terrifying statistic. In other words one out of every twenty-five death row sentences is wrong. As Alexander Pope said, "to err is human ."[2] We, as humans, make mistakes. We are not omniscient. Ergo, miscarriages of justice will occur. If the death penalty were not implemented and an alternative were implemented, such as life in imprisonment, we would be able to rectify our false accusations. However, if the death penalty is used, we would not be able to undo our wrongs. What good does it do to exonerate a dead man? He is still dead.

Let"s consider George Stinney, a young boy put on trial for the murder of two girls. After George was handcuffed and led away from his home, he was questioned alone in a room without his parents and without an attorney.[3] Deputy Newman, who questioned George, claimed that he had admitted to the murders.[4] However, there was no physical evidence linking him to the murders and there is no written record of George's confession apart from Deputy Newman's statement.[5] Despite this lack of evidence, the entire trial process, including jury selection and deliberation, lasted less than one day and ended in George being sentenced to death. [3][5] "At the age of 14, George walked to the execution chamber with a Bible under his arm, which he later used as a booster seat in the electric chair. Standing [only] 5 foot 2 inches tall and weighing just over 90 pounds , his size (relative to the fully grown prisoners) presented difficulties in securing him to the frame holding the electrodes. The state's adult-sized face-mask didn"t fit him [either]; as he was hit with the first 2,400 V surge of electricity, the mask covering his face slipped off, "revealing his wide-open, tearful eyes and saliva coming from his mouth ... After two more jolts of electricity, the boy was dead."[6] Now, over 70 years later, George has been exonerated.[3] So, I ask all of you as being at least two years older than George, can you imagine dying tomorrow? I know I can"t. Dying is something that happens later in life, not while we"re still teenagers. But in George"s case it did happen. Not only did he suffer death, but he died with everyone in the country thinking he was a murderer. This is an irreparable injustice.

The second reason the death penalty should be abolished is the astronomical costs associated with putting a person on death row, including criminal investigations, lengthy trials, and appeals. Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty is not more cost effective than other non-death alternatives, including life in prison without parole. According to a report by the Committee on Defender Services Judicial Conference of the United States [7], the average cost of defending a trial in a federal death case is $620,932, this costs around 8 times more than a trial in which the death penalty is not sought. Furthermore, according to a study by Urban Institute [8], death penalty cases in Maryland cost three times more than non-death penalty cases. In a similar study by the Seattle University of Law [9], it was concluded that each death penalty case costs an average of $1 million more than a similar case where the death penalty is not pursued.

A common misconception is that the majority of costs incurred by death penalty cases occurs during appeals, however, the greatest costs associated with the death penalty occur prior to and during trial, not in post-conviction proceedings. Even if all post-conviction proceedings were abolished, the death penalty would still be more expensive than alternative sentences. Trials in which the prosecutor is seeking a death sentence have two separate and distinct phases: conviction (guilt/innocence) and sentencing. Special motions and extra time for jury selection typically precede such trials. When death penalty trials result in a verdict less than death or are reversed, taxpayers first incur all the extra costs of capital pretrial and trial proceedings and must then also pay either for the cost of incarcerating the prisoner for life or the costs of a retrial. According to the California Commission for the Fair Administration of Justice, in California the current system costs $137 million per year. They also concluded that it would only cost $11.5 million for a system without the death penalty.[10] For those of you who have a hard time with math, that means we are wasting over $125 million by simply pursuing the death penalty.

Thirdly, I ask you to consider the morality of killing another human being. Why does our government kill people in an attempt to demonstrate that killing is wrong? This idea of "lex talionis" is an ancient philosophy dating back to the Babylonian leader Hammurabi.[11] This code is outdated and needs to be left in the past. I ask, should society allow rape as the penalty for rape or, perhaps the burning of arsonists" homes as the penalty for arson? Even if you believe in this "eye for an eye" philosophy, you should consider the inhumanity of the death penalty.

Austin Sarat, a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College, describes the history of flawed executions in his 2014 book Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America's Death Penalty.[12] He reports that throughout American history, 8,776 people were executed and 276 of those executions (3.15%) went wrong in some way. Lethal injection had the highest rate of botched executions.

Let"s examine the execution of Robert Wood III. On July 23, 2014 Wood was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. He was injected with a drug cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone. He was given 15 doses of this supposed lethal combination. However, Wood gasped and snorted for well over an hour,[13] and a media witness compared Wood's breathing to a "fish gulping for air".[14] A reporter said Wood gasped more than 600 times. Experts stated that the execution should have taken about ten minutes.[15] Yet his execution began at 1:52 p.m. and ended at 3:49 p.m., lasting almost 2 hours.

In conclusion, the death penalty is prone to error, full of unnecessary costs, and immoral. I look forward to my opponent's argument.

Sources:
[1] http://www.pnas.org...
[2] http://poetry.eserver.org...
[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com...
https://deathpenaltyinfo.org...

[4] http://www.cnn.com...
[5] http://www.goupstate.com...
[6] https://www.theatlantic.com...
[7] http://www.uscourts.gov...
[8] http://www.urban.org...
[9]http://law.seattleu.edu...
[10]https://www.prisonlegalnews.org...
[11] http://www.history.com...
[12] https://www.bostonglobe.com...
[13] http://www.nbcnews.com...
[14] http://www.cnn.com...
[15]http://www.slate.com...
TheUnexaminedLife

Pro

My case for the death penalty isn't that some crimes are so egregious that they deserve death, or that victims of horrible crimes deserve retribution, nor even that harsh punishments create an effective deterrent discouraging illicit behaviours. For although all these defences might be quite cogent, the issue is less simple than that. I will argue that polity should have the right to manage their biopolitical populations (that is, the right to decide who should live and die within a community for the benefits of that community). Now, your immediate response to this might be... no! You're advocating Nazism! Selective eugenics! What is best for the community might be horribly misinterpreted! And, you'd be quite right.

But George Bernard Shaw wrote that society has the contractarian right ‘to put a price on the right to live in it’ (1). And do we dispute this? Social order is costly; each society asks us to pay with our freedom when it imposes laws on us in return for security and privileges. The law restricts our actions as humans and it is by conformity to this law, that we reap the benefits of society. One privilege of society is the right to live. It is the right not to be killed and to get proper care. However, it is true that when individuals take the life of another, or break the law, they cannot go without punishment. But to imprison a murderer like Charles Manson, giving them stardom and security in an, for him, economically free sanctuary does not seem at all a suitable and condign punishment. All it does, as Foucault would argue, is cement delinquent habits and behaviours. So why do we consider it a better solution that the management of population to remove criminals? It is because we are deluded; we apply our value on human life and the unnatural preservation of this life at all costs across of all society, actuated from our shared human fear of death.

Already, by advocating that the death penalty be abolished, are we asserting a power over life and death. We deny people their right to die. Take the UK (my place of origin), euthanasia is illegal under the 1961 Suicide Act (2) despite some public sympathy. We say to people that no matter how much pain they are in, how they are feeling, they are patients to be cured. Palliatives will soothe them into a life-in-death with an abysmally low quality of life. This is, by the way, the phraseology used by solitary confinement patients: 'a living death' (3) for many a worse condemnation than actual death itself. In a closed space, without intersubjectivity, convicts can lose the habitual ability of cognitive communication and therefore rhythmic cognition itself. Did you know that 41% of solitary confinement victims hallucinate? (4) That this type of imprisonment induces mental health issues? But what’s more, solitary confinement patients are also deprived of possibility, essential to their abstractive thinking, so over time must also lose the ability to create other possibilities for themselves becoming institutionalised. Even creative thoughts are a form of self-communication bereft of fuel must eventually come to a halt. In inertia, subjects will become dependent on the immediacy that has co-constituted them and which they have fine-tuned themselves around. Thus, in this way, solitary confinement becomes the instrument for the nullification of the abstract self and person as the immediacy of the controlled prison institute becomes the subject’s only reality. It limits their bodies and minds, what they believe possible, until they only project homogenised meaning. This reduced subject Gallagher calls the ‘minimal self’ (5) but is much more easily recognised as the institutionalised zombie. Surely the death penalty is a kinder solution for all these solitary confinement subjects that can't be released into a population because they are dangerous whilst simultaneously are being tortured at tax payer suspense. This is currently where people end up without the death penalty and it is plainly worse than death, it is inhumane suffering. It controls the lives of people by subjecting them to a living death in prison no better than if they were already dead themselves. Over 100,000 people spend time in solitary confinement (6); the worse the crime, the more likely one is to be put in solitary. All death row convicts tend to find themselves confined as such, a living inhumation. By denying them death, we prolong their suffering to a life-in-death and put strain on our overpopulated prison systems.

The power over death is likewise not so an alienated idea from society as we think. My second point, will highlight the hypocritical nature of the death penalty in the public sphere. By definition, the death penalty is 'punishment by execution'. And I ask, how does this differ from the West’s interventionist foreign policy? When Bin Laden was shot in 2011 by US Seals, wasn’t this a death penalty the media cheered for? When terrorists, dehumanised, on the news are reported dead with a celebratory undertone, isn’t it then hypocritical to believe that use of the domestic death penalty is barbaric? All Bernard Shaw asks is that we value criminals as if they were terrorists, enemies to the state deserving of the same treatment. For Shaw the prime objective of any society ought to be the overall benefit of each citizen. When individuals break this code or aren’t being intrinsically useful, why do they have the right to live? The death penalty on a mass scale makes for a more efficient society. Imagine a society without recidivist criminals, without those who impede the social framework and without those of little use to us. This doesn't seem to me to be a dystopia but rather, a utopia.

DISCLAIMER:
(All views above are for the sake of arguing and are not necessarily my own)

Sources:
1 Shaw, Prefaces, 1934, p. 296
2 http://www.legislation.gov.uk...
3 https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...
4 https://www.starcafe.org...
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
6 http://solitarywatch.com...
7 https://en.oxforddictionaries.com...

Debate Round No. 2
foulmat18

Con

My opponent makes an interesting point, connecting societies "value of human life" and the "preservation of this life" to "our shared human fear of death." This fear of death is not groundless. Death is irreversible. By putting this power in societies hands, mistakes will happen, though most are not as extreme as the Nazis in Germany. For example, Mahmoud Hussein Mattain of the UK was hanged in Cardiff Prison on 8 September 1952. He was exonerated 36 years after his death.[1] The UK has since outlawed the death penalty. The United States, another world power, has not outlawed the death penalty. Since 1973, 144 people on death row have been exonerated. As a percentage of all death sentences, that's 1.6%.[2] I would like to bring the attention back to a point I made in my opening, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [3], if all death-sentenced defendants remained under sentence of death indefinitely, at least 4.1% would be exonerated. That means roughly 2.5% of death sentences in the United States are for an innocent person. Our current technology could never guarantee that the accused was 100% guilty. This uncertainty validates our fear of death and the killing of another human being.

Furthermore, support for the death penalty presents a complication. Specifically with the involvement of medical personnel for a lethal injection. Though doctors and nurses are presumably the most qualified to administer drugs to an inmate, medical ethics preclude doctors from participating in executions. The American Medical Association issued a statement prohibiting physician involvement in capital punishment, saying it is contrary to the Hippocratic Oath and would erode the public's trust in medical professionals.[4] The American Nurses Association and the American Society of Anesthesiologists have both adopted similar positions.[5] The result is that lethal injections are too often carried out by inexperienced technicians and orderlies, increasing the possibility of mistakes that can cause painful or drawn out executions.

Solitary confinement forces the prisoner to think about their actions for a lifetime. They do not get the "luxury" of dying a quick death. Their life is now restricted to one room, with virtually no contact with outsiders. Justice is not necessarily eye for an eye. Although, as my opponent has pointed out, solitary confinement isn"t the most humane of all punishments, neither is the death penalty, but only one of them is reversible. Punishments are not meant to angelic. If we must choose between two evils, at least solitary confinement allows the justice system to correct injustices. Maybe solitary confinement would be a more "suitable and condign punishment" for Manson (which in 2012 he was sentenced to for 15 months).[6]

I would like to acknowledge a valid question my opponent introduced: how does this [the death penalty] differ from West"s interventionist foreign policy? I cannot argue with this. This hypocritical stance taken by the West, especially by the United States, is wrong. The killing of Osama Bin Laden, though constitutional, was based in fear. This action taken by the United States military was allowed through the Authorization For Use Of Military Force Against Terrorists, which was passed on September 14, 2001, just three days after the horrific falling of the World Trade Center.[7] The United States needs to take action to correct these fear-based killings.

Coincidentally, my opponent"s most convincing argument culminates into Nazi-sounding propaganda. "The death penalty on a mass scale makes for a more efficient society. Imagine a society without recidivist criminals, without those who impede the social framework and without those of little use to us." In the beginning of my opponent"s arguments, they mention that their stance may be mistaken for advocating Nazism, but their concluding statements sound like something right out of Hitler"s mouth. Getting rid of those with "little use for us" and getting rid of those "who impede the social framework" is somehow seen as a "utopia." This stance is oddly reminiscent of the fictional film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which the government attempts to create a machine capable of killing criminals before they even commit their crime. I argue that any mass killing of this degree is certainly not found in my utopia.

Sources:
[1] https://www.gov.uk...
[2] http://www.newsweek.com...
[3] http://www.pnas.org...
[4] https://litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com...
[5] http://nursingworld.org...
[6] http://www.magicbulletrecords.com...
[7] https://www.gpo.gov...
TheUnexaminedLife

Pro

In attacking your first argument...
Contrary to the statistics, common sense has it that it costs much more to keep someone in the prison system for life than it does to kill them. What costs so much about the death penalty is in how we exercise it; it is the media coverage, the methods we use, the detailed trials. These are not necessary for the death penalty to be exercised. I ask you to think for yourself of some of the much cheaper ways to judge and kill people. I imagine, you’ve already thought of several. The true price of the death penalty, as with most things, comes from bureaucracy and all the pretences of society. No to say that these pretences are entirely false. The central problem posed to the judicial system is that of definitive proof, ensuring that our actions are justified and right; without the expense processes of our system, you may ask, how can we assure that innocent people are not convicted under false judgements? We value human life so when do we ever have the right to suspend it? In self-defence? Recompense?

Albert Camus said ‘no cause justifies the death of the innocent’ (1); he said nothing of the sort about the guilty. Sure, it might have been a great injustice when innocent people like George Stinney or Derek Bentley suffered the death penalty without having committed their crimes. Yet, with a qualification of certainty, knowing guilt, does the death penalty suddenly become acceptable? Either it is moral or immoral (I again refer you to the hypocritical nature of US foreign policy, devaluing individual terrorist lives because of their assumed guilt). I see no reason why innocence should matter to your claim that the death penalty is intrinsically immoral as a practice. To this I offer a simple challenge: given that man is a truculent animal, why is murder wrong? If you cannot prove murder immoral, then you have to concede all of your arguments. Why do you have a right to live?

I see no reason why those who are caught in the act in US law cannot be put under the death penalty (providing their normative sanity and right-mindedness). Or, if the evidence is so overwhelming, that there is no possibility of error in their conviction—why not face them with life’s precipice? These scenarios I have presented would allow for the death penalty to occur under some circumstances, getting around your problem of those innocent people it has unintentionally murdered believing them guilty. I see the problem of expenses as a problem of how our judicial framework uses the death penalty instrumentally. I could hit someone over the head with a spade for virtually nothing to the same ends having judged them for their crime. What is left is proving it immoral to murder, which I leave to you. But, to help you out, I’d like to remind you that comments like, ‘it is bad for society’ or ‘it infringes our human freedom’ do not prove it immoral. The first suggests that if one was outside of society (say living off-grid) it is morally permissible murder. The latter presupposes the unfounded human right to ‘freedom’ or another right, the assumed right to our bodies. Transcendental rights or morals, beyond nature, I will treat with nothing but incredulity.

The intuitive argument as I understand it usually goes as this:
P1 I don’t want to die
P2 Killing others means it is more likely that I create a climate in which I might die
C Killing others is against my desire not to die

Perhaps, you might say, we have a natural love for our fellow man. To which I would respond, we also have a natural hatred of our fellow man and desire to dominate and survive him. As horrible and as irreversible as death is, Voltaire wrote that ‘all animals are perpetually at war; every species is born to devour another’. History will show that man is not an exception. Murder is a mundane occurrence whether occurring abroad in foreign conflict or at the end of a trial.

(1) https://books.google.co.uk... (p147)
(2) http://www.bartleby.com...

In defence of my own argument,
I of course extend my point. If murder isn't in a utopia, you have to prove that murder is wrong. This of course pertains to a defence of the Hippocratic Oath as well.

In regards to solitary confinement, they do not reflect about their actions for their lifetime. In many cases, the tedium of the cell brings them to self-destructive behaviours and limited cognitive and physical ability. It is true that books and activism can abate some of these symptoms. But, could you imagine being locked up in a cell every day for 22-24 hours a day? The justice system doesn't 'correct injustices'. What is justice but a judgement just as fallacious as death penalty judgements? Understaffed, overpopulated and underfunded, prisons harms and do not reform convicts. It beats them down in adverse conditions and conditions so poor, rioting is frequent and then releases them into an environment where employers reject them, encouraging their recidivism. In the case of the Angola Three (Black Panthers in solitary confinement for over 30 years) the two on the outside suffer still from the deleterious effects of institutionalisation.

https://www.theguardian.com...

Debate Round No. 3
foulmat18

Con

In response to your defense of your arguments"

To even attempt to juxtapose murder together with utopia is scary. A utopia, defined as any place or state of ideal perfection [1], and murder, defined as the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another [2], don"t belong in the same sentence. Murder causes pain whether it be to the person dying or to his family/friends. This concept of pain does not belong in any place or state of ideal perfection, regardless of murder"s morality.
I will concede on my argument for solitary confinement. However, this debate was not about solitary confinement versus the death penalty. I believe that sufficient evidence could be made both for and against solitary confinement, but it would be almost irrelevant to this discussion.

[1] https://define.com...
[2] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

As you point out, "what costs so much about the death penalty is in how we exercise it; it is the media coverage, the methods we use, the detailed trials." Although these are "not necessary for the death penalty," how would we eliminate them. As you state, "the true price of the death penalty, as with most things, comes from bureaucracy and all the pretenses of society." If these things have become an intrinsic part of our society, how could we eliminate them. Therefore, I argue that these factors must be counted when considering the true cost of the death penalty.

In order to answer the question of murder"s immorality presented at the end of your second argument, we must first consider the idea of moral reasoning. Consequentialist moral reasoning (or utilitarianism) locates morality in the consequences of an act (in the state of the world that will result from the thing you do).[3] From, consequentialist standpoint murder is wrong because it deprives another person of everything. Furthermore, it causes other people pain, not only the pain of death, but also the pain felt by those who love and/or depend on them. Another similar stance is that murder is essentially stealing. It is the taking away of one"s life which can only be experienced once. Taking anything which is not rightfully yours destroys your capacity to value in a fundamental sense. By this definition, to steal someone"s life is immoral.

In our current society, there can be no guarantee for the innocence of the defendant. The death penalty already is already supposed to only be used in the most extreme cases with overwhelming evidence, yet we continually have an issue with the murder of innocents. How could we ever conclude that "there is no possibility of error in their [the defendant"s] conviction?" In future, this argument may have to be restructured, but for now our criminal departments and our justice system are not to the point of making no mistakes. Until we reach this future of no inaccuracies, we are forced to acknowledge the irreversibility of the death penalty. If we continue to allow the death penalty, we will continue to accidentally murder innocents. As a society, I don"t think we are capable of living with this burden.

[3] http://www.damianstorey.com...

Thanks for debating with me. I enjoyed it. You made some impressive arguments that I certainly wasn't expecting. If you could, please let me know what you felt were my weakest arguments, and let me know if there is anything I could do to improve. Cheers!
TheUnexaminedLife

Pro

I too have enjoyed these killer arguments, and hope to end them well by exploring how murder and utopia are not so mutually exclusive as you think them to be. In regarding a place of perfection, the following question should always be: perfect for whom? Traditionally, we might think of Heaven: perfect for the Christians. Yet, what is the antithesis to this Utopian society? An eternal death penalty in the fires of Hell. Those condemned by God instead of receiving eternal life are subject to its opposite. Heaven allows for the eternal murder of all those who do not believe in Christ as their saviour. Unless you exempt God from murder because God is God (which I find entirely unconvincing). What other utopias are there? Plato’s state, which condones infanticide for defective babies? Or how about Huxley’s Brave New World? In all the utopias man has dreamt up, murder has been integral to them; I can’t conceive of a realistic state on earth either which this has not been the case. If I'm wrong put one in the comments section.

You mention Bentham’s act utilitarianism as a defence against murder. I see where you come from providing that you localise the pain and pleasure produced by the death penalty to those emotionally involved. But, using this example again, Bin Laden’s death probably brought more pleasure than it did pain to the wider global community. Isn't murder permitted in utilitarian morality? It is a highly relativist theory. For Bentham, any moral action is permitted providing it abides by the pleasure principle: that it maximises pleasure for the greatest number of people. This has often been criticised as ignoring minority rights. It permits the murder of the individual if the greatest happiness is produced. This reminds me of the Hitler Paradox: would you go back in time to kill Hitler and thus prevent WW2? Thinking of the immeasurable pain and loss of WW2, I think the act utilitarian would be forced to yes. This is our attempt to give the death penalty to Hitler: we judge his actions so awful as to vindicate his death and then by time travel argue that it's okay to kill him.

As for your second attack against murder, what makes you believe that your life is your own? This is a common assumption, born from religious and then Enlightenment values. Unless you believe in a soul (which cannot be scientifically certified) what part of yourself exactly do you own that the state does not give you? Your genetics: from your parents, sustained by the state. Your body: developed by the social structures of society providing you nourishment in exchange for your labour and/or money. Your ideas and identity: not original, but born of the information and experiences built up around and prior to you. As Hume says, think of an idea which doesn’t come from experience. Your consciousness (in my view, though only an inference) arises from the material reality of your brain. This material reality is caused from the world around you. If anything, murder robs the state of one of its resources. Your rights are only given to you through your existence in the world; you as an individual don’t have them without the world. Therefore, the state which sustains you surely also has the right to extinguish you if you go against it (as the Hitler Paradox seeks to eradicate Hitler's life because his actions went so vehemently against our moral values).

Personally, I have done a lot of work on solitary confinement within the field on phenomenology (hence I brought it up) particularly focusing on Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. It is relevant to the death penalty debate because those convicted of very serious crimes are often faced with this dichotomy exactly: solitary confinement or death. And whilst death might be irrevocable, a premature burial in solitary confinement I think can be a much more torturous and grotesque practice (especially if the crime is so egregious as to never permit the guilty convict’s release).

I’m not a fatalist; just because society is ordered in a certain way, doesn’t mean that it will be always. My point about the costs being a part of a social process was to attribute responsibility to our social order away from the actual deontological act of capital punishment itself. We can always eliminate social practices by resisting them and raising social awareness over prolonged periods of time (evident, up to an extent, with racism and sexism in the USA).

As a society, I don’t think we are capable of living with this burden’: that ‘we will continue to accidentally murder innocents’. I don’t know, we’ve been doing a pretty good job of it for the past... entire history of our civilisation. Our western society is built upon blood, whether slave or colonialist, or produced in some sort of warfare. Even today there is high collateral damage in the countries we are militarily involved in. I don’t think we should tolerate this, we should seek to eliminate it, but to say that we ever will in its entirety is again highly idealistic. And, in the meantime, we can certainly live with the burden. Hell, Henry Kissinger is still alive and kicking after the realpolitik slaughters of the Vietnamese in the Vietnam War.

I did think that finding someone in the act would be proof enough for the death penalty in the USA. I concede to your point that we can never be sure whether a condemned individual is truly guilty or even whether anyone can be blamed for their crimes (an entirely different question).

Again, to reiterate, I’m not actually in support of the death penalty. But, I think to really argue for it, you need to have a strong argument for why murder is wrong (which I suggest you to try and develop—it’s a pretty tough one). Your argument fundamentally relies upon it and it is an assumption. I think in our society, a case can be made for it being practically destructive and damaging but this doesn’t make it wrong always, absolutely. But, nevertheless, I think your arguments could be used in exam papers and general conversation and be accepted; they just need to fill in any background assumptions to develop philosophically.

Pleasure debating with you.

Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
TheUnexaminedLife
Well, gee thanks :) I blame the coffee.
For you, I would suggest defining exactly what you think morality and immorality are and where they come from. Then apply murder to your concepts of morality and its source and see whether it is condoned or not. I couldn't tell you how to establish it without telling you what I think morality is.
Interesting question though: does immorality (feeling that something is wrong) come before or after morality? And, are there some instincts that come before our sense of feeling that something is wrong?
Posted by foulmat18 1 year ago
foulmat18
@theunexaminedlife I just wanted to say that I was amazed with amount of sources you pulled information from, as well as, the elegant formation and defense of your arguments. How would you recommend attempting to establish the immorality of murder?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Coveny 1 year ago
Coveny
foulmat18TheUnexaminedLifeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was good, but I felt saying pro sounded like Hitler to be enough to doc him. Con agreed with two of Pro's points, and Pro only agreed with one of Cons. As Pro had an unexpected angle for this debate and I found it very interesting. Con had more sources supporting his argument, and for the most part the sources weren't bias. (I feel like Pro only lost this point because he chose an unorthodox point of view)