Death Penalty: Report From Canada

Sam Pawlett epawlett at
Mon Mar 8 12:03:42 PST 1999

> After saying all this, I should emphasize that I full agree with what
> Carrol calls his political argument against capital punishment. However,
> in my judgement he attempts to draw an artificial barrier between
> philosophical and political arguments that would have been strange
> to both Marx and Lenin (who after all wrote a famous polemic against
> Ernst Mach's philosophy as part of a political struggle within the
> Bolshevik faction).

The Marx article on capital punishment was great. I sensed a lot Engels in it. I read somewhere, I think in Ch1 of Michael Perelman's book on Crisis Theory, that a lot of the Tribune articles were authored or at least co-authored by Engels. I don't think Engels gets the credit he deserves. Haldane and Hilary Putnam both called him "the most learned man of the 19th century".

The determinism argument is not new. I was thinking of Arthur Koestler and Clarence Darrow who both used it to argue against capital puishment. Darrow used it to argue against all forms of punishment.

Sam Pawlett

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