1. The essay must apply two and only two ethical theories to support the thesis.
2. You must cite at least 3 sources. At least two must be a primary source — the writings of a philosopher.
3. Must be written in third person.
The essay MUST follow the precise structure described below to be eligible for a grade:
Topic: Capital punishment
Introduction: Opposition to the death penalty can be supported using utilitarianism and virtue ethics.
Background: There is a history of capital punishment controversy, where it has continuously been abolished and restored because it is sought to be unlawful.
Explain Theory 1: Utilitarianism argues that when making decisions we have to count everyone’s interests equally. It seeks to increase the amount of good and decrease the amount of bad.
Apply Theory 1 to your thesis: This proposed capital punishment violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantees of due process of law and of equal protection under the law.
Explain Theory 2: Virtue ethics argues that an action is only right if it is an action that a virtuous person would carry out in the same circumstances.
Apply Theory 2 to your thesis: Some argue that the act of killing is a universal law and is always wrong. A virtuous person acts upon justice and prudence, and capital punishment doesn’t represent these virtues.
Evaluate the approaches: Everyone wants justice but justice isn’t being served properly. It’s been proven that sentencing people to death hasn’t made a difference in our society. What needs to be valued is what’s best for everyone, that means finding an alternative that will not only serve justice properly but it will also improve society.
Conclusion: Capital punishment should be abolished completely because it is inconsistent with the fundamental values of our democratic system. Theories like utilitarianism and virtue ethics depict such actions.