The Impermissibility of Execution

In Matthew C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook on the Philosophy of Punishment. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 747-769 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This chapter offers a proceduralist argument against capital punishment. More specifically, it contends that the possibility of irrevocable mistakes precludes the just administration of the death penalty. At stake is a principle of political morality: legal institutions must strive to remedy their mistakes and to compensate those who suffer from wrongful sanctions. The incompatibility of remedy and execution is the crux of the irrevocability argument: because the wrongly executed cannot enjoy the morally required compensation, execution is impermissible. Along with defending his key premises, Yost explains the complicated role that sentencing uncertainty plays in the argument. He concludes by noting some of the flaws in substantive consequentialist and retributivist justifications of capital punishment.

Author's Profile

Benjamin S. Yost
Cornell University


Added to PP

218 (#70,272)

6 months
110 (#40,253)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?