Empty Days

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Death as experiment

Haphazardly visited Atlantic Monthly's site and glanced this:
Life or Death Decision

In his latest book, Scott Turow talks about how he came to believe that the country's experiment with capital punishment has "failed miserably".
The curious word is "experiment". This brought to mind the outrage over the idea of medical experiments on near-dead patients (Peter Singer). Supposedly this outrage is based on the idea of the "sanctity of human life". Yet, this very idea doesn't seem to extend to capital punishment. Many, if not most, of those outraged by Singer are not at all outraged by death penalty.

Why? Perhaps the argument of the "sanctity of human life" is only a camouflage for something else - and it is this something else that provokes the outrage.

If ethics were a science it would investigate real-motives as opposed to slogans (or call it doctrines).





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