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The value of a life posted 02 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe value of a life by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Only in industrialized nations? Actually, one could make the argument that life is more personalized in the rituals and customs of pre-industrial societies than is the case today in a more alienated, "mass" society that offers up the image of the Individual to replace the village or Tradition.

I'll have to search through some of my old research materials for a couple of papers I wrote in college and grad school on symbolism and death, but I do recall that there was a lot of symbolism attached to a birth as well as to a death. So I would have to disagree most strongly with the assumption that life was viewed as "cheap" in any culture, pre-industrial or not.

And as for the other point, about whether or not opposition to capital punishment should be grounded on moral reasons, one could argue that the main impetus for actually having such a system of punishment would be due to moral outrage and a demand for an eye-for-an-eye type of justice. After all, on a purely pragmatic level, prisons that house prisoners that are never to be granted parole can do just as well in preventing further violent acts as execution would, with less change of an innocent person being killed by the state for a crime he/she did not commit.

I guess I should state here that I reject Objectivism (not Ayn Rand's ill-conceived "school", but a historical approach toward evidence and causation) in favor of a more Subjective approach that accounts for human emotions in the equation of human interactions. view post


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