Next Article in Journal
Uneasy Bedfellows: Social Justice and Neo-Liberal Practice in the Housing Market
Previous Article in Journal
Sustainable Indigenous Reindeer Herding as a Human Right
Previous Article in Special Issue
Doing “Life”: A Glimpse into the Long-Term Incarceration Experience
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessEssay
Laws 2016, 5(2), 25; doi:10.3390/laws5020025

The Death Penalty and Human Dignity: An Existential Fallacy

1
Writing Department, Curry College, Milton, MA 02186, USA
2
Independent scholar, Henniker, NH 03242, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Johnson
Received: 28 February 2016 / Revised: 30 April 2016 / Accepted: 30 May 2016 / Published: 2 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rough Justice: Penal Sanctions, Human Dignity, and Human Rights)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [161 KB, uploaded 2 June 2016]

Abstract

Proponents of capital punishment in the United States frequently cite the evolution from electrocution and hanging to lethal injection as an indication that the evolving standards of decency exhibited by such a transition demonstrate a respect for human dignity. This essay examines that claim by evaluating two standards for assessing whether an act comports with accepted definitions of human dignity: a personal-achievement model, based on work by economist Amartya Sen of Harvard University, and a universal and intrinsic approach to human dignity articulated by criminologist Robert Johnson of the American University. We evaluate Sen’s capabilities model through the lens of a condemned prisoner’s ability to achieve self-defined goals. We then assess Johnson’s claim that preserving human dignity requires an elimination of the death penalty, irrespective of any prisoner’s ability to lead a restricted, albeit goal-directed, existence. View Full-Text
Keywords: human dignity; death penalty; capabilities approach; lethal injection human dignity; death penalty; capabilities approach; lethal injection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Nagelsen, S.; Huckelbury, C. The Death Penalty and Human Dignity: An Existential Fallacy. Laws 2016, 5, 25.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Laws EISSN 2075-471X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top