There is nothing more sacred in the wide world than the rights of others. They are
inviolable. Woe unto him who trespasses upon the right of another and tramples it
underfoot! His right should be his security; it should be stronger than any shield or
fortress. We have a holy ruler and the most sacred of his gifts is the rights of man.
-Immanuel Kant: Lectures on Ethics. *
This paper thus enquires into the natural right to life by examining the ethical issue of
capital punishment and whether this legislative provision is an encroachment on such
a right. By using Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative as a critical launching pad,
and with illustration of the Greek Myth of Hades, I examined the ethical
permissibility of capital punishment. These philosophical deliberations concluded
that capital punishment is not morally objectionable on the grounds that it contradicts
the natural right to life. Since the categorical imperative recognises that human
beings are free rational and autonomous agents; if an individual takes the life of
another, he breaches the angelic pact of respecting the autonomous status of human
beings, and therefore results in a punishment of the highest degree. The capital
penalty. Thus, within a Kantian philosophical context, capital punishment is justified.