Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 367–378 | Cite as

Can/Should We Purge Evil Through Capital Punishment?

Matthew H. Kramer: The Ethics of Capital Punishment: A Philosophical Investigation of Evil and its Consequences. Oxford University Press, New York, 2011
  • Carol S. SteikerEmail author
Book Review


Matthew Kramer’s The Ethics of Capital Punishment: A Philosophical Investigation of Evil and its Consequences explores the morality of capital punishment and develops his own “purgative rationale” in support of the practice. I present my objections to Kramer’s purgative rationale and trace our disagreement to differences over the nature of evil, the autonomy of human character formation, and the concept of defilement.



I thank Fionnuala Ní Aoláin and Jordan Steiker for helpful conversation and comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Law SchoolCambridgeUSA

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