The Ethics of Capital Punishment in Modern Society
#13
(05-Dec-2011, 04:22 PM)Lije Wrote:
(04-Dec-2011, 03:12 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: Kasab deserves to die. Not because of a sense of retribution, but you have to understand that there are people in this world who see mercy as weakness. Kasab is a pawn in the war between civilization and barbarism. Barbarism must be fought with all means possible, but not mercy.

Justifying capital punishment because some will see "mercy" as a sign of weakness sounds silly. It is a false dichotomy. It reminds me of movies where the "hero" loses his "manliness" because he shaves off his mustache.

Also, there is room for a nuanced discussion on capital punishment without derailing it with talk about clash of civilization and barbarism.
Anyway in a nutshell, IMO if the convict is convicted of a crime of horrific proportions and with deliberate intent while sane, he deserves capital punishment. That is more humane than doling out say, 70 life sentences.

Since this is basically terrorism, it does boil down to barbarism vs. civilization.

Curious, but is there a moral equivalence between war and capital punishment by the state?
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#14
(07-Dec-2011, 09:10 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: Anyway in a nutshell, IMO if the convict is convicted of a crime of horrific proportions and with deliberate intent while sane, he deserves capital punishment.
RascarCapac, statements like this need to be relooked in naturalistic framework. The "deserves" part suggests retribution. Be careful with such usage.
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#15
(08-Dec-2011, 03:12 PM)Kanad Kanhere Wrote:
(07-Dec-2011, 09:10 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: Anyway in a nutshell, IMO if the convict is convicted of a crime of horrific proportions and with deliberate intent while sane, he deserves capital punishment.
RascarCapac, statements like this need to be relooked in naturalistic framework. The "deserves" part suggests retribution. Be careful with such usage.
Yep I did notice that it's looking very vindictive.
Anyway my point was that capital punishment can be humane.
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#16
(07-Dec-2011, 09:10 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: Anyway in a nutshell, IMO if the convict is convicted of a crime of horrific proportions and with deliberate intent while sane, he deserves capital punishment. That is more humane than doling out say, 70 life sentences.

Since this is basically terrorism, it does boil down to barbarism vs. civilization.

Curious, but is there a moral equivalence between war and capital punishment by the state?

What is humane or not, and what should be the best course of action depends on your moral premises. The criminal justice page I linked to earlier builds primarily on these premises:

  1. We live in a deterministic (but not a predictable) world and as such humans are fully caused beings. So there is no place for contra-causal free will - the view that given the exact same circumstances, a person can choose to do otherwise. A consequence of this is that agency does not reside fully with the person, but resides in their environment as well.
  2. The best moral course to take, as far as criminal justice goes is, a consequentialist one, that is maximize 'good' of the society.
Please do go through the linked articles to get some background on from where we who do not support capital punishment are coming from.
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#17
[Archiving from FB]

Arvind Iyer Wrote://Its easy to un- learn retribution attitudes.//

Empirical findings don't seem to support such a sanguine view. Punitive behaviors for violation of prevailing social contracts are observed in primates [1] and assertion of authority through corporal punishment or surrogates is demonstrated in the classic Millgram experiment[2].

//Its really difficult to unlearn retributive instincts. But its rational to do so.//

Dr. Thomas W Clark in this essay[3] suggests the following.
tl;dr:
- That we are wired for retribution doesn't mean that we should give in to and celebrate this impulse.
- Effectiveness of punishment must be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness in containment.

Quoting Dr. Clark:
//The desire to inflict suffering and death on those who knowingly take the life of someone we love may be natural, but that alone doesn’t make acting on it just. After all, there are many naturally arising impulses that we don’t condone consummating...
...
Whether killing is calculated or impulsive, the product of a diseased or normal brain, on a scientific understanding, contra-causal free will plays no role...They are, it is true, the most proximate cause of behavior that must be condemned and contained, but they are neither ultimately responsible for their misdeeds nor metaphysically deserving of death, as much as we might wish it.//

[1] http://www.pnas.org/content/89/24/12137.abstract
[2] http://nature.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-lab...icle35.htm
[3] http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php...clark_25_2
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#18
http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/20/world/asia...homepage-t

Kasab was hanged yesterday. This will not change indo-pak relations or Islamic militancy one bit. So what was the point of this hanging if it makes no difference to the world.
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#19
(21-Nov-2012, 10:59 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/20/world/asia...homepage-t

Kasab was hanged yesterday. This will not change indo-pak relations or Islamic militancy one bit. So what was the point of this hanging if it makes no difference to the world.

From the voices dominating the ensuing public discourse, it seems that the above considerations such as deterrence and containment seem to have been trumped by making a virtue of the necessity of upholding what now is the written law of the hand, by relief that India is not the 'soft-state' it is derided as being, and by dismissal of any misgivings by taking refuge in the 'rarest of the rare' clause.

Such an episode highlights a major limitation in advocacy approaches that surge and ebb in an 'event-driven' manner along with public interest in a headline-grabbing event, rather than advocacy of the sort that led to RTI which was more 'process-driven' than driven by narratives around particular historic events or martyrs.

Another telling comparison between these two approaches in institution-building, is the process-driven approach of the Constituent Assembly whose functioning resisted the vagaries of nativist sentiment while embracing a liberal vision and the event-driven manner of the linguistic re-organization of states following the 1952 fast of Potti Sriramulu and the Flora Fountain incident of 1960. The power of these precedents is telling in how initiatives like the Women's Reservation Bill are approached to this day in a process-driven fashion (at least in form) though this is a cause for which public mobilization may well be attempted, and movements like Telangana statehood continue to be demanded in an event-driven fashion by fasts like K Chandrasekhara Rao's in 2009.

'Event-driven' and 'process-driven' are terms used loosely above, but there maybe takeaways for online activists from software engineering experiences of both these approaches in securing user confidence, which figures prominently among the goals of both application development and advocacy.
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