Mapping the world's opinions

argument top image

Should the death penalty be abolished? Show more Show less

The death penalty, or capital punishment, refers to the government-sanctioned execution of an individual as retribution for a crime. Although most countries have abolished death penalty sentences, many retain this practice, including the United States, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Should we abolish the death penalty, or support each government's right to punish crime as it sees fit?

Yes, we should abolish the death penalty Show more Show less

The death penalty unjustly targets vulnerable demographics, wastes taxpayer money, and violates the sanctity of human life.
< Previous (2 of 2 Positions)

The death penalty violates the sanctity of human life

Regardless of their crimes, the lives of death row prisoners are valuable.
< Previous (1 of 6 Arguments) Next >

Context

The Argument

Human life is intrinsically valuable, and therefore worthy of dignity and respect. In death penalty discussions, we often paint criminals as subhuman, monstrous creatures. We forget that people retain their humanity, even after committing a heinous crime. A person’s life is still valuable, regardless of their wrongdoing, and this includes death row prisoners. Since death row prisoners are still people, regardless of their crime, executing them is wrong. For this reason, we should abolish the death penalty, refusing to do wrong in response to someone else's wrongdoing.

Counter arguments

The death penalty protects human life- it does not disvalue it. If people know that murder will be punished likewise, they will refrain from committing it. The death penalty deters violent crime, which ultimately saves innocent lives. Additionally, the death penalty reflects society's value of innocent life. If our society values the vulnerable, we will zealously punish those who prey upon them. If we fail to execute murderers, we would be sending a message: we do not value innocent life enough to punish those who take it.

Framing

Premises

[P1] The lives of people are valuable. [P2] For this reason, killing violates the sanctity of human life. [P3] Even after committing a crime, death row prisoners are still people. [P2] Therefore, the death penalty violates the sanctity of human life.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

    Explore related arguments

    This page was last edited on Tuesday, 16 Jun 2020 at 01:08 UTC