The virtue theory looks at the good acts versus the bad things that an individual has done before condemning their mind and character. Capital punishment is one of the things that the virtue theory considers before deciding whether the person should be sentenced to have their life cut short. Capital punishment is depriving an individual of their right to life. However, there are some actors to be considered in virtue theory. This paper discusses how virtue ethics agrees and disagrees with the issue of capital punishment as a contemporary moral issue.
Many quarters in the society have agreed and at the same time disagreed with the idea of capital punishment as the ultimate solution to crime (Hill 166). Some see it as a way to distort creation and break the very rules that were applied when man was being brought into the face of the earth. Others think that capital. punishment is inevitable because it distracts people with the mind of committing serious crimes from engaging in such activities. Nonetheless, there has not yet emerged anyone to prove that capital punishment should be banned nor has there emerged anyone with the argument that it is good or the society.
The fundamental aim of this punishment is to deter the minds of those who have the thought of committing crime similar to the one being condemned by this sort of punishment today. Before going into the argument on whether death punishment deserves or not, it is good that people understand how to go before making the decisions. The moral legitimacy of this punishment is in limbo due to the morality and ethical questions that remain unanswered. Due to these questions, many in the society have suggested an alternative to be found for the capital punishment because of the violation of human rights.
According to the utilitarian theory, capital punishment may be justified (Tyner 12). The theory views capital punishment as a retribution for severe crimes and also as a way of assurance that these crimes do not recur. Therefore, the other rational people will not be enticed into committing such a crime that has attracted death to another in the society. The swift implementation makes this aspect more effective and the potential criminals are thus deterred from even thinking of such a thing.
On the other hand, the virtue theory views things from a different perspective. The virtue point of view is what is used to address the problem. The lives of those guilty of such an offence are viewed from a virtue perspective. It is known that people tend to do good as well as harm in their life time and thus the two sides do not have the same weight (Tyner 7). This is because when the good and evil are put in a scale, one is most probably going to outweigh the other. Therefore, the side that has more magnitude in terms of the effect it has brought is chosen. If the person has committed more good than evil, the individual is pardoned. However, if the individual has committed more evil than good, they are sentenced to death for the capital crime in hand (Hill 172). A virtuous individual has an opportunity of surviving the capital punishment. In conclusion, virtue ethics emphasize that the mind as well as the character of an individual has to be checked and the society has to define better methods of judging on capital punishment.
Hill, J.E., 2016. Crime. In Adam Smith’s Equality and the Pursuit of Happiness (pp. 161-177). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Tyner, J.A., 2016. Violence in capital punishment: devaluing life in an age of responsibility. U of Nebraska Press.