Capital Punishment and the Hedonic Caluclus

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  • Created on: 09-05-14 10:04
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Capital Punishment
There are around 200 countries in the world...only 140 countries have
abolished Capital Punishment.
60% of the world's population live in fear of the Death Penalty.
PURITY The act is not free from pain for the victim, as the way that they
will die will be painful and will cause suffering for them. However, the
families of the victims may have a relief from pain through knowing that the
criminal has been punished for what they have done to their loved ones.
Also, the possible future victims who could have suffered if the criminal had
lived would be free from pain as well. So Bentham would consider Capital
Punishment to be the correct action, for its purity benefited the families of
the victim, not the criminal, therefore it was the greatest happinesss for
the majority.
RICHNESS The pain of the criminal would be great, because their death is
designed to be painful so that they suffer. This is a form of making them
'pay' for the crime they have committed. But the greatness of pain is
lowered for the families of the victims, because they feel that a sense of
justice has been achieved for their lost loved ones. Therefore allowing the
punishment to occur would allow the majority of people to be happy, and
so Bentham's greatest happiness principle would determine that the death
penalty is the correct moral action.
REMOTENESS The pain is instant for the victim, and so isn't very far away
for them. However, for the families of the victims the pleasure is still far
away. Because although they may feel a sense of justice, they still need
time to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones. So therefore,
based on remoteness alone, utilitarianism would determine that the action
was immoral because it only benefits the criminal, who isn't the majority.
INTENSITY For the criminal, the intensity of the pain would be high, as
death could be considered the ultimate act of suffering. As the deaths are

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But for the families, the pain would be less intense, with stronger pleasure.
This would be due to the fact that their sadness and bitterness could be
lowered as a result of the death penalty. This would therefore heighten
their feelings of justice, which in turn would produce pleasure. As the
majority of people would get intense pleasure instead of pain from the act
of punishment, Bentham would determine that the act was morally right.
CERTAINTY It is certain that the criminal involved will die.…read more


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