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cogency in pro-death-penalty rhetoric
the utilty of michael's statements here are --- as he points out --- only relevant to the capital punishment debate with respect to support for it from the new testament. the legal, practical and normative issues are still not dealt with. as i have pointed out elsewhere, the burden of proof is on the pro-death-penalty side of the debate. the relevant presupposition is that killing is wrong (otherwise, what would capital punishment be designed to PUNISH) which we take to be societal (for all intents and purposes or at the very least held across all participants in the present discussion). since the authority of the state to take life is contrary to this belief, it must be justified in its context. given the religious diversity exhibited by the us, arguments founded on religious texts or belief systems will be unable to provide a universal understanding on any subject. effective argumentation here depends upon a clear grounding in the societal presuppositions which are taken to be (near-)universal in their acceptance. effective argumentation would employ these pressupositions in an analysis of the inferences which they support. the inferences are frequently grounded in the notion of physico-scientific truth, but more often depend on the normative drive for consensus. this is the domain from which morality emerges. this is the insight which underlies the anarhists' view of democracy.