Can it ever be acceptable for a humane society to put a human being to death? In this new volume in The Pilgrim Library of Ethics, a wide range of contributors, including recognized theologians, ethicists, and writers, explore all angles of the wrenching subject of capital punishment.
Arguments often turn on how this form of "justice" functions within the larger social order. Retributionists argue that this extreme penalty is needed to restore social order. Advocates of the common good counter that capital punishment's biases against the poor, members of minorities, and those with little education spread social cynicism and disrespect for the law.
Scapegoat theorists contend that execution is a form of ritual sacrifice intended to redeem the body politic. In contrast, proponents of society's need to decrease the number of murders posit that capital punishment diverts passion away from effective measures that could reduce the rate of homicides.
For those who want a single-volume source of balanced, accessible information and who seek to formulate their own informed opinion, "Capital Punishment: A Reader" is an essential resource.
Books in The Pilgrim Library of Ethics address the most significant moral issues of our time. Each volume is designed for both classroom and general use, and features about thirty outstanding articles, essays, and official statements by foremost thinkers and institutions.