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Does Capital Punishment Deter Homicide?: A Case Study Of Epistemological Objectivity

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This paper uses the debate about whether capital punishment deters homicide as a case study for examining the claim, made by many feminists and others, that the traditional ideal of objectivity in seeking knowledge is misguided. According to this ideal, knowledge seekers should strive to gather and assess evidence independently of any influences exerted by either their individual and societal circumstances or their moral values. This paper argues that, although the traditional ideal rests on some valid precepts, it is neverthelesss untenable. the author goes on to propose an alternative epistemological ideal – one that retains these valid precepts but also recognizes an important and legitimate role for people's circumstances and moral values in their efforts to find knowledge.

Keywords: capital punishment; deterrence; epistemological objectivity; objectivity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Associate Professor of Philosophy, Hobart and william Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY 14456, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2001


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