Derrida: Opposing Death Penalties

Derrida Today 2 (2):186-199 (2009)
Derrida's purpose in ‘Death Penalties’ (2004), is to show how both arguments in favour of capital punishment, exemplified by Kant's, and arguments for its abolition, such as those of Beccaria, are deconstructible. He claims that ‘never, to my knowledge, has any philosopher as a philosopher, in his or her own strictly and systematically philosophical discourse, never has any philosophy as such contested the legitimacy of the death penalty.’ (2004, 146) Derrida also asks how it is possible ‘to abolish the death penalty in a way that is based on principle, that is universal and unconditional, and not because it has become not only cruel but useless, insufficiently exemplary?’ (2004, 137) In my paper, I examine Derrida's claim about the lack of systematic opposition to the death penalty on the part of philosophers and suggest an answer to his question concerning the possibility of a universal and unconditional opposition to capital punishment
Keywords 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies  C1  220317 Poststructuralism
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DOI 10.3366/E1754850009000529
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