Death Penalty: Report From Canada

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Sat Mar 6 10:07:23 PST 1999

James Farmelant wrote:

> I would go along with B.F. Skinner, who held that what distinguishes
> the human species is not the possession of an "autonomous self"
> endowed with Free Will but rather, is the development of a culture, a
> social

James, recourse to philosophy for political argumentation ought to be in the last resort only, and perhaps not even then. Michael Hoover, Yoshie, I in various ways have been trying to make the *political* argument against the death penalty, taking the debate out of both the philosophic stratosphere and the sentimental bog. Then you let Max off the hook by giving him this philosophical will-o-the-wisp of free will vs determinism to pursue.

As a result he (and any who agree with him) can continute to set two sentimentalities against each other: mere weeping for the criminal vs. mere weeping for the victim. Notice how quick he was to reduce Guthrie's song to such mush. He can answer that, but he can't answer (or at least hasn't tried to answer) any serious political arguments.


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