Classic Retributivism: Kant and lex talionis A classic expression of retributivism about capital punishment can be found in a late 18th century treatise by Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysical Elements of Justice ; Ak.
Beccaria adds to this thinking at least two claims about some bad social effects of capital punishment: first, for many the death penalty becomes a spectacle, and for some it evokes pity for the offender rather than the fear of execution needed for effective deterrence of criminal misconduct 49; Ch.
From the arguments provided in this paper, it is clear that the death penalty has the most favorable results for the majority in society.
I do not understand the benefit derived from the implementation of capital punishment in the U. We are bounded by a set of guidelines, a social contract, and these common guidelines create boundaries — boundaries that determine how the law is formed, what is wrong and what is right, benefitting the majority of the society.
Whether due to inherent vagaries of legal language, the necessity of discretion to judge properly complex, particular cases, the fallibility of human beings, or political pressures and other factors affecting decisions made within the system, such as clemency, the risk of error is not eliminable for the institution of capital punishment.
These crimes, of course, would not have occurred were capital punishment imposed, and, so, the death penalty does prevent commission of some serious crimes.
Future effects or consequences, if any, are then irrelevant or distinctly secondary considerations to justifying punishments for misconduct, including the death penalty. Lex talionis as a Principle of Proportionality Most contemporary retributivists interpret lex talionis not as expressing equality of crimes and punishments, but as expressing a principle of proportionality for establishing the merited penal response to a crime such as murder.
Therefore, capital punishment is not an effective deterrent.