2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Does our Ethical and Moral Basis give us the Right to Punish and Imprison?

Andrew Denning, 2006, Stage 2

Aim: The main objective of this project is to, firstly, assess whether as humans we actually possess a moral and ethical basis. Then to discover where this ethical and moral basis originated from. Then to move on to investigating its position in the law, looking closely as the philosophy of law itself. Following this, a critique of capital punishment provides us with reasons we give for such punishment, which are based on a diverse number of reasons. I intended to answer the following questions: Are morals innate to us? What part do ethics and morals play in justice? Do we have the right to punish and imprison other human beings? Concepts: Having researched the subject and attempted to answer the above questions, a number of clear cut concepts began to emerge as integral to my project. Firstly, that morals originated from basic needs through hominid evolution to maintain survival, and were in fact merely behavioural requirements for the well-being of group living. Secondly, that the split between those who view morality and law as overlapping and those who don’t is extremely lucid. Thirdly, law is distinguished as a system of norms vastly different from all other norms. During the project I came to see that the arguments for and against capital punishment are similar, but argue different sides of the same fence. For example, those against argue that it debases the intrinsic value of human life. While those for argue that the only way to value the life lost it to take that of the perpetrator. Sources: For this project I used a number of sources, including books covering philosophy of law, Kant’s moral philosophy, Mill and utilitarianism, and general books which focused specifically on the law judicial system itself. Some internet resources on psychology were also of interest. The main body of text however, will be referring to Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes and John Stuart Mill.

Leave a Reply