Applied Ethics

Applied Ethics

APPLIED ETHICS 9

AppliedEthicsNameInstitutionDate

Abstract

Ethicalissuesrevolvearound thesystemizing, defending,andtherecommendationof conceptsthat definea rightorwrongbehavior.Researchers andphilosophershavedividedtheethicaltheoriesinto three distinctivegeneralsubjectareaswhich are Metaethics,normativeethics,andappliedethics.Appliedethics,which is themainconcernof thispaper,involvestheexaminationof certaincontroversialissuesthat definemoralbehaviorssuchas abortion,environmental concerns,animalrights,capitalpunishment,euthanasia,slavery,andtorture.Themajorconcernof thispaperis todiscusstheissueof capitalpunishmentas wellas thecoreprinciplesof ethicaltheoriesto drawspecificmoralconclusionsrevolvingaround thesame.

IntroductionEthicsis verycriticalin researchby helpingin thejudgmentof behaviorsportrayedby people.Themainconcernof ethicsis to helpguideindividualsin makingdecisionsin circumstanceswhich involvea moralquestionby establishingwhetheracertainactionis rightorwrong.Capitalpunishmentis theexecutionof a personas a formof punishmentforacertaincrimebasing on theresultsof a trialin a fairandjustcourtprocess.Questionshavebeenraisedabout whetheritis morallyrightorwrongto practicecapitalpunishment.Thediscussionon which circumstanceswarranttheexecutionof peoplehas beena sourceof debateforquitea longtimewith somepeoplebeingagainst whileotherbeingin favorof capitalpunishment(Cohen, 2005). Theethicalissuesthat makecapitalpunishmenta moralconcernrevolvearound thequestionwhetheritis morallyrightorwrongto executeorjudgea personbecauseof engagingincertaincriminalactivity.Althoughthere are crimesthat callforseriouspunishmentof theoffenders suchas murder,capitalpunishmentis stillnot acceptableas morallyright.However,becauseanymoralandethicalconcernof an actionis to benefitthemostpeople,capitalpunishmentremainsan optionforpeopleengagingin heinouscrimessuchas murder.Coreprinciplesof ethicaltheoriesEthicaltheorieshavea strongbaseon ethicalprinciples.Thesetheorieshelpin placingan emphasison thedifferentaspectsthat helpin comingup with themostappropriateresolutionof ethicaldilemmas.In otherwords,ethicaltheoriesandprinciplesactas a foundationfortheanalysisof ethicalsituationsto guidein comingup with themostmoraldecision.Thereare variousethicalprinciplesthat underlieethicaltheories.Theyincludebeneficence, theprincipleof justice,therightsprinciple,respectforautonomy,andtheprincipleof leastharm(Chadwick, 1997). Thetheoriesthat elaborateon theissueof capitalpunishmentare rightsandutilitarianism. Theseprincipleshelpto explaintheethicaltheoriesthat helpin establishingwhethercapitalpunishmentis morallyrightorwrong.RightstheoryTherightstheoryfocuseson therightssetforthby a particularsociety,andits principleis to ensurethatsuchrightsare protectedandtreatedwith thehighestregard.Theserightsare treatedto be ethically correctbecausetheyareheldinregardtoa largepopulation.Thistheoryisbasedon theprincipleof rights,leastharm,andrespectforautonomy.Theissueof capitalpunishmentcan be treatedas an ethicalconcernbecauseitleavesthequestionswhetheritis morallyrightorwrongtopracticeit.Oncepracticed,theissueof capitalpunishmentinfringesindividualsof their rightto live,is cruelandinhumane, andplacesnovalueon humanbeings’life.Theprinciplesof rights,leastharm,andrespectforautonomygivesguidanceto therightstheoryof whatis ethically acceptable.Thepracticeof capitalpunishmentplacesnovalueon thevalueof life,deniesan individualtherightto live,andcould resultin theexecutionof theinnocentpeople.Humanliveis valuableto eachindividual.Theprincipleof rightsrecommendsthattherightof anyindividualto liveandsafetyshould beheldwith highregard(Singer, 1993). Despite thefactthattheyare seriouscriminaloffenders warrantingexecution,humanliveis of greatvalueandshould not be terminatedunder whichever circumstances.Thevalueof an individual’slifeis specialsuchthatitshould not be destroyedbasing on thebadconductof theoffender.Eachandeveryotherpersonisentitledto thehumanrightto live.Asa result,peoplesentencedto deathandfacingexecutionare deprivedof thisright.Theprincipleof rightsacknowledgesthata personisentitledtotherightto live.Thisleavesquestionsabout themoralityof practicingexecutionas a capitalpunishment.Theapplicationof theprincipleof leastharmactsas guidanceto therightsethicaltheoryforpeopleto actin agoodmannerthat will not harmtheindividualsin question.In mostof thecircumstances,itdealswith situationsin which anyof thechoicesavailableis beneficial.In such a scenario,thechoiceof an actionshould resultin theleastharmpossibleandtheharmshould affecttheleastnumberof peoplepossible.Forinstance,in thecaseof capitalpunishment,theexecutionmay resultin theharmof theparticularoffender butpreventthecrimefrom occurringto otherpeople.Similarly,failureto executewould savetheoffender from bodilyharmandas wellpreventan infringementof his orher rightto live.UtilitarianismUtilitarianismplacesits basison theabilityto makea predictionabout theconsequencesof acertainaction(Chadwick, 1997). To theutilitarian, thechoicesthat resultin thegreatestbenefitformostpeopleis thechoicebelievedto be ethically andmorallyupright.Utilitarianism can be dividedinto two categoriesto formruleutilitarianism andactutilitarianism. Actutilitarianism isideally basedontheabilityto predicttheconsequencesresultingfrom acertainaction.In thecaseof actutilitarianism, an individualis expectedto actin a mannerthat benefitsmostpeople.Theactionplacesnoregardforthepersonalfeelingsortheconstraintsposedby thesocietysuchas lawsandrulesof theland.Capitalpunishmenthas beena sourceof debateon whetheritis morallyrightorwrongto beundertaken.Basing on theactutilitarianism, carryingoutexecutionof a criminalcould be saidto be ethically correctbecauseitensuresthatthere would be noreplicaof thesameoffense.Again,peopleplanningto carryout suchcriminalactivitieswill be scaredbecausetheyunderstandwhatwould befallthem thusactingas a benefitto thesociety.On theotherhand,goingaheadto carryon with capitalpunishmentdisregardstheruleof thelawin which therightof a personto liveshould beadheredto. Theexecutionremainsmorallyuprightaccording to theutilitariantheorybecauseitplacesits concernon thebenefitto themostpeople.Onthehand,ruleutilitarianism is based on theruleof thelawandis alwaysfairandjust.Theaimof theruleutilitarianism is to be of benefitto themostnumberof peoplethrough a fairandjustprocess.Besides resultingin agoodaction,theaddedadvantageof ruleutilitarianism is thatitplacesagreatvalueon justice.Theruleutilitarian viewsthepracticeof capitalpunishmentto be morallyupright(Cohen, 2005). Thepunishmentadministeredto a personforwrongdoingoron thebasisof a criminalactshould be adhered to sothattheguiltypeopleandonlytheguiltypeopledeservea punishmentthat should bebasedon theseverityof thecrimetheyhavecommitted.Thisargumentsimplyimpliesthatrealjusticeshould ensurethattheguiltypayfortheir wrongdoingwhich should be proportionate to thecrimetheyengagein.Allcriminalsshould be punisheddepending on thenatureof thecrimetheyengagein.Thecaseof a murdererwill,therefore,warrantdeathof peoplefoundto haveengagedin such a crime.Thespecificmoralconclusionis thatcapitalpunishmentis morallyandethically upright.Anuprightethicalsituationis thatwhich resultsin a goodbenefitformostof thepeople.Following a fairandjustprocess,thecriminaloffenders engagingin crimeswarrantingdeathpenaltyshould not be spared(Noddings, 2010). In as muchas itinfringeson therightof an individualto liveandthevalueof his orher life,itresultsin benefitfortheentirecommunity.Thisisbecausecapitalpunishmentensuresthatthere is norepeat of theoffence,andbesides,a morallyuprightactionshould be forthebenefitof themostpeople.EvaluationUtilitarianismtheorypresentsthemostpersuasivemoralargumenton capitalpunishment.Thisisbecausethemorallyuprightoutcomeshould be of benefitto themostpeople.Althoughcapitalpunishmentresultsin thedisregard of an individual’srightto live,itplacesits concernon thesocietieswhoin thiscaseare themostpeopleratherthan placingvalueon thefewindividualssubjectedto execution.Utilitarianism defendsthepracticeof capitalpunishment.However,thisshould not be thecase.Given theflawsin thejusticesystem,innocentpeoplemay endup beingexecuted,andtheprocesscannot bereversed.Thefactthatwrongpeoplemay beexecutedimpliesthattherealoffenders are on thelooseandcould attackagain.On theotherhand,thismeansthatexecutioncould resultin thedeathof innocentpeopleandat thesamenot benefitmostof thepeopleas expectedfrom an ethically rightundertaking.ConclusionEthicsis verycriticalwhenitcomesto makinga decisionon whatis morallyrightorwrong.Capitalpunishmenthas beena criticalissuebecauseof themajordebateson whetheritis ethicalto practiceitornot. Based on theutilitarianism andrightstheorytogetherwith thecoreprinciplesunderlying thesetheories,capitalpunishmentis morallyright.Anyethicalactionshould ensurethatanydecisionbenefitsmostof thepeoplewhoare thecasewith capitalpunishment.Thefactthatexecutionharmsa particularindividualora smallnumberof peopleto savethewholesocietyclearlyexplainsthisfact.Debateson whetherto practicecapitalpunishmentwill remainpersistentfora longtimebecauseof thedifferentpointsof viewby thedebaters. However,as longas theexecutionof an individualfollowsa free,fair,andjustprocess,itremainsmorallyupright.Thefactthatthewholesocietywill be freeof theoffender should not be disregardedforthepreservationof theliveof theoffender basing on thereasonsthat executionis aninfringementof his orher righttolive.

References

Chadwick,R. (1997). Encyclopediaof .London: Academic Press.

Cohen,A. (2005). ContemporaryDebates in .New Jersey: WilleyBlackwell.

Noddings,N. (2010). MaternalFactor: Two Paths to Mortality.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Singer,P. (1993). PracticalEthics.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.