The irrevocability of capital punishment and active voluntary euthanasia

Saranga Sudarshan

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One argument often made against capital punishment is that it would involve the risk of killing innocent people and that such a mistake cannot be corrected in ways that other punishments can. I call this the ‘Irrevocability Argument’. In this article, I argue that the Irrevocability Argument is symmetrical with respect to capital punishment and active voluntary euthanasia. If the Irrevocability Argument works against capital punishment, then it also works against active voluntary euthanasia and vice versa. The main upshot of this is that it means at least some of the moral positions that people hold to treat them differently are untenable. Those who rely on the Irrevocability Argument as an argument against capital punishment are also committed to it as an argument against active voluntary euthanasia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
VolumeEarly View
Early online date14 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2020


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