Utilitarian and Capital Punishment

Utilitarian and Capital Punishment

A utilitarian principle is a form of ethics that tries to justify the benefits obtained from human actions. Therefore, the law states that an action is morally right if its effect is good. John Stuart, an economist-philosopher, said that all activities by human beings should adhere to the principle of greatest happiness. The above principle, therefore, tries to get maximum utility for all parties involved in an action. However, not all times when benefits accrued to policing results in fairness, and it does not address the issue of value by population among other issues. Therefore, this paper will discuss how the principle of utilitarian relates to capital punishment.

States have the authority of deciding on laws associated with the death penalty. Because of how the issue is treated, there are many debates in America regarding the right course of action in this form of punishment. Mill saw that capital punishment should be introduced because of its benefits to the whole society (BROWN 5). The process of executing the death penalty creates an atmosphere in the community where people will no longer fear for their own lives. However, the social norms in our society block this law from being established (BROWN 5). This might be attributed to many cases of wrong executions that justify the abolition of the sentence.

Utilitarianism takes into consideration of the above arguments and suggests for a more redefined law on the death penalty. Supporters of this policy agree that cases of wrong executions should be addressed and be minimized or eliminated if possible (BURNE 367). Though replacing capital punishment to complete rehabilitation is a good idea, the idea has failed many times. Also, it is costly as it cost taxpayers millions of money every single year. Therefore, this form of punishment will not only prevent people from getting involved in capital offenses but will also reduce the burden of rehabilitation. Thus, the policy on capital punishment will be good for the whole society.

Capital punishment should be enforced since it seeks to bring global happiness and minimizing unhappiness. Because of the intention attached to the above form of punishment, it is better to kill dangerous individuals (BURNE 368). Though this will bring a state of depression in their families, society will be better since there will be no more threat associated with individuals killed. The pain inflicted on an individual will be for a short while and unhappiness in his/her family will last for some time but will eventually fade away.

Capital punishment has the capacity of reducing future crimes. This is because it acts in scaring people from doing crime due to executions. Also, criminals who are served with the death penalty deter them from doing further crimes in the society (Mitchell 161). The victim families will get consolation, and additional deaths on criminals will finally help them get rid of their member’s execution.

The total happiness of society is achieved when a crime is finished. One of the ways of ending crimes is executing offers and deterring further crimes. It is better for an individual to be executed, and society gets its happiness than sacrificing the happiness of society at the expense of an individual (Mitchell 161). Capital punishment involves less pain to offenders than spending their entire life in prison. The death penalty is the best form of punishment that should be embraced. Policy makers only need to minimize cases of wrongly executed individuals.



Work Cited

BROWN, D. G. “What Is Mill’s Principle of Utility?”. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, vole 3, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-12. Informal UK Limited, doi:10.1080/00455091.1973.10716066.

BURNE, P. “BENTHAM AND THE UTILITARIAN PRINCIPLE”. Mind, LVIII, no. 231, 2017, pp. 367-368. Oxford University Press (OUP), doi:10.1093/mind/lviii.231.367.

Mitchell, Wesley C. “Bentham’s Felicific Calculus”. Political Science Quarterly, vole 33, no. 2, 2016, p. 161. Wiley, doi:10.2307/2141580.