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Retribution, the Death Penalty, and the Limits of Human Judgment
International Journal of Applied Philosophy (1999)
  • Tony Roark
So serious a matter is capital punishment that we must consider very carefully any claim regarding its justification. Brian Calvert has offered a new version of the "argument from arbitrariness," according to which a retributivist cannot consistently hold that some, but not all, first-degree murderers may justifiably receive the death penalty, when it is conceived to be a unique form of punishment. At the heart of this argument is the line-drawing problem, and I am inclined to this that it is a genuine challenge for the retributivist. I respond on behalf of the retributivist by formulating a line-drawing method that relies on the distinction between "clearly deserving and not clearly deserving" and is justified by a version of the "lex talionis" modified with an epistemic constraint.
  • criminal justice,
  • death,
  • ethics,
  • human,
  • judgment,
  • penalty,
  • retribution
Publication Date
Citation Information
Tony Roark. "Retribution, the Death Penalty, and the Limits of Human Judgment" International Journal of Applied Philosophy Vol. 13 Iss. 1 (1999)
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