Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the landscape of deontological or categorical objections to the practice of capital punishment. The sketch of the various possible approaches fills the vacuum left by the frequent ceding of the moral field by nonreligious opponents of capital punishment. The central requirements of retributivism are that punishment be deserved and proportional to an offender's wrongdoing. Although Kant assumed that death is always a deserved and proportional punishment for the crime of murder, this assumption is vulnerable to attack both at the level of individual culpability and at the level of systemic distribution of death sentences. The discussion also takes up deontological challenges to capital punishment that seem a bit further from retributivism's core commitments to desert and proportionality.

Keywords: capital punishment, morality, retributivism, murder, death sentences, deontological challenges, desert, Immanuel Kant

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.