Group work on
"A Thousand Deaths"
and the Death Penalty"

Break up into small groups. Delegate one or more members of your group to (1) prepare a summary of your group's discussion and (2) make a list of your group's members.

Discuss your answers to the following questions.

1. Briefly review major arguments for and against the death penalty. Which arguments (of both the "fors" and the "againsts") do your group members find most convincing? Least convincing? Why?

2. What reason is offered for the executions in "A Thousand Deaths?" Is this reason convincing in that context? Why or not? Do you normally find such reasoning convincing in discussions of the death penalty? Why or why not?

3. Why is the prosecutor willing to kill? List his reasons and motivations. Explain how these resemble or fail to resemble arguments for the death penalty.

4. By the end of the story is the prosecutor still willing to kill? If so, why? If not, why not? Do their end of story situations suggest anything about the disadvantages or advantage of the death penalty? How so?

5.  Do these arguments for and against executions suggest anything about how someone could or would or does know if the death penalty is right or wrong?  If not, why not?  If so, what do they suggest about moral knowledge concerning this?

For Philosophy 302, Issues in Ethics, Le Moyne College, Prof. Michael Kagan

Last edited on February 14, 2010

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