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Death and Other PenaltiesPhilosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration$
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Geoffrey Adelsberg, Lisa Guenther, and Scott Zeman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265299

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265299.001.0001

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On the Inviolability of Human Life

On the Inviolability of Human Life

(p.130) On the Inviolability of Human Life
Death and Other Penalties

Julia Kristeva

Fordham University Press

This chapter presents the author's reflections on the desire for a universal abolition of the death penalty. It asks: What motivates the desire for abolition, and what possibilities for a meaningful life—and a meaningful death—does this desire support? The desire for abolition affirms the singularity and inviolability of each and every human life. But what does this imply for the lives that have been destroyed by murder, or for the trauma of survivors? And what role does the death drive play in both the desire for abolition and the horror of murder? It considers the three main arguments advanced by abolitionists against the death penalty: the inefficiency of vengeance and dissuasion, the fallibility of justice, and the suffering of elimination.

Keywords:   death penalty abolition, vengeance, murder, justice

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