Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

Andrew Schroeder

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© 2014 Christian Conor Hoxsie


If we accept the existence evil and evil people in the world, should we punish them? If so, to what extend? Are we obligated to take an evil person's life and if so, how far does our obligation go? Our inquiry begins with a look into the justifications of capital punishment through three philosophical theories: Locke's Deterrence Theory, Kant's Retributivist Theory, and Matthew Kramer's Purgative Rationale Theory. Next we will look at the economic weight of the U.S. capital punishment system. Lastly, should we accept an obligation to the death penalty, we will discuss whether or not the economic burden is worth our commitment. Our discussion will lead to a synergy of the two, one that reduces the economic burden while providing a richer purpose to capital punishment than merely killing criminals.


Special Thanks to Professor Andrew Schroeder. I know this paper would not have ended up half as well without his help, and I cannot thank him enough for that. I learned much from this experience and would not trade it for the world.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.