Essays utilitarian ethics

Utilitarianism: Death Penalty – View on Capital Punishment Essay

A significant consequence of the death penalty is that is has a high fiscal cost compared to the alternatives. The taxpayers have to shoulder the financial burden associated with implementing the death penalty. Traditionally, the death penalty was considered to be a cheaper method of punishing convicts compared to the alternative, which is a longer prison term. However, this has changed as procedures that are more stringent have been put in place when dealing with capital cases.

Instead of tackling these cases as other criminal cases, the prosecutor and defender are required to be thorough and make use of expert witnesses.

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ture and ethics, most of them strive to make a case for the ethical value of . argues both in that essay and Utilitarianism, the forms of liberty and equality that will. Utilitarianism also differs from ethical theories that make the rightness or wrongness . Mill's essay “Utilitarianism,” published in Fraser's Magazine (), is an.

Once the judgment has been passed, the offender can engage in numerous appeals making the case last for many years. While it is possible to reduce the costs associated with capital punishment, such a move would require neglecting some of the procedural safeguards put in place to ensure that the risk of wrongful conviction is reduced to the minimal.

From a utilitarian perspective, the huge financial cost is a negative consequence to the society. Opponents of capital punishment point out that the society would benefit more if the money currently used to sustain the death penalty was used for other pursuits such as building rehabilitation centers or increasing the police force in order to deter crime in the community Dieter par. Another major consequence of the death penalty is that it might lead to a miscarriage of justice.

If this happens, an innocent person can be put to death by the criminal justice system.

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While miscarriages of justice occur even in non-capital cases, there is the hope that the innocent person can be exonerated in the future through appeals. However, the death penalty is final and once the sentence has been carried out, there is no chance for the innocent person to challenge the wrongful conviction and attain his freedom. Aronson and Cole reveal that the danger of wrongful conviction remains to be the most dominant issue in capital punishment discussions This situation can lead to a crisis of confidence in capital punishment since killing an innocent person is unacceptable.

To a utilitarian, the wrongful killing of an innocent person is a great loss to the society since he can no longer make a positive contribution to his society. In addition to this, wrongful execution might lead to emotional distress by the people who were involved in the trial. It therefore has a negative impact and reduces the happiness of the society. To determine the ethical nature of an action using utilitarianism, one must weigh the benefits against the consequences. In this case, the benefits of the death penalty include deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and the preservation of law and order.

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On the other hand, the consequences include high fiscal cost and a potential loss of innocent lives. As can be seen, the benefits of implementing the death penalty outweigh the consequences. It can therefore be asserted that the death penalty is ethical from a utilitarian perspective since it has a net beneficial effect, which leads to the maximization of the happiness of the greatest amount of people. This paper set out to demonstrate the ethical nature of the death penalty using the utilitarian theory.

It began by acknowledging that the death penalty issue is highly controversial and people are divided in their opinions concerning its usefulness. The paper then demonstrated how the utilitarian theory, which seeks to maximize the happiness of the majority, could be used to ascertain the ethical nature of capital punishment. It has shown that the death penalty has major advantages to society including deterrence, incapacitation, and an increase in the credibility of the criminal justice system.

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However, the death penalty also has major consequences since it is costly to the citizen and it might lead to wrongful executions. However, the benefits are more prominent and when implemented, the death penalty reaffirms the value of observing the law, thus creating a safer society for all citizens. From the arguments provided in this paper, it is clear that the death penalty has the most favorable results for the majority in society.

This punishment should therefore be implemented more often in our country since it is ethically sound and leads to overall benefits to the society. The doctrine does not say that you should strive to maximize your own happiness.

Rather, your happiness is just that of one person and carries no special weight. Utilitarians like the Australian philosopher Peter Singer take this idea of treating everyone equally very seriously. Singer argues that we have the same obligation to help needy strangers in far-off places as we have to help those closest to us. Critics think that this makes utilitarianism unrealistic and too demanding. Bentham's commitment to equality was radical in another way, too. Most moral philosophers before him had held that human beings have no particular obligations to animals since animals can't reason or talk, and they lack free will.

But in Bentham's view, this is irrelevant. What matters is whether an animal is capable of feeling pleasure or pain. He doesn't say that we should treat animals as if they were human. But he does think that the world is a better place if there is more pleasure and less suffering among the animals as well as among us.

So we should at least avoid causing animals unnecessary suffering. Share Flipboard Email. There are three principles that serve as the basic axioms of utilitarianism. Continue Reading.

Utilitarianism is a Form of Consequentialism Essay

ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. So, all things being equal, giving presents to a whole gang of children is better than giving a present to just one. Similarly, saving two lives is better than saving one life. That can seem quite sensible.

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If Mill held that the only relevant difference among pleasures and pains was whether one was greater than another, there would be only six possibilities for the total effects of an action. Pleasure and happiness, though, are unique in being valued purely for their own sake. But it is also clear from the essay that this is not how the matter appeared to Mill. Essay about Hospice Programs What is Crime? Although it is not transparently evident that these are but two ways of saying the same thing, it is far from implausible to urge that by analysis they amount to the same. For example, if a person had to choose who to save and the choice was their son or a man with the cure to AIDS, then the answer would be the son because their prima facie duty is to him. The moral man is, like the carefully tilled garden, a work of Art, not of Nature.

This may strike you as a rather obvious moral principle. But when it was put forward by Bentham in the form, "everyone to count for one; no-one for more than one" it was quite radical. Two hundred years ago, it was a commonly held view that some lives, and the happiness they contained, were simply more important and valuable than others. For example, the lives of masters were more important than slaves; the well-being of a king was more important than that of a peasant. So in Bentham's time, this principle of equality was decidedly progressive.

It lay behind calls on the government to pass policies that would benefit all equally, not just the ruling elite. It is also the reason why utilitarianism is very far removed from any kind of egoism. The doctrine does not say that you should strive to maximize your own happiness.

Introduction

Rather, your happiness is just that of one person and carries no special weight. Utilitarians like the Australian philosopher Peter Singer take this idea of treating everyone equally very seriously.

The axioms of the moral theory that seeks to maximize happiness

Singer argues that we have the same obligation to help needy strangers in far-off places as we have to help those closest to us. Critics think that this makes utilitarianism unrealistic and too demanding. Bentham's commitment to equality was radical in another way, too.