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Against the Death PenaltyWritings from the First Abolitionists-Giuseppe Pelli and Cesare Beccaria$
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Giuseppe Pelli

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691209883

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691209883.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

Argument of Against the Death Penalty

Argument of Against the Death Penalty

(p.85) Argument of Against the Death Penalty
Against the Death Penalty

Giuseppe Pelli

Princeton University Press

This chapter outlines the different views and arguments of Giuseppe Pelli's unfinished dissertation of Against the Death Penalty. It provides an analysis of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourses 'on the Sciences and Arts' and 'on Inequality', and Pelli's early indication of lack of sympathy with Transalpine Enlightenment philosophers, with the exception of Montesquieu. The natural law philosophers and jurists from Hugo Grotius provided the main foundation and stimulation for his own ideas. Pelli reveals himself as a close reader of, among others, Grotius, Heineccius, the Cocceji father and son and Vattel. The chapter also highlights Pelli's deep pessimism about human nature, and inclination to moralizing. Here he labels the punishment by execution of the 'vicious' as itself a vice, having its origins in the 'general corruption' of our hearts, our innate tendency to give way to capricious anger, cruelty and malice. Ultimately, in the course of his treatise, it explains his humanitarian instincts and motives and how his commitment to his cause come to the fore. But he is also insistent that his case rests on rational argumentation.

Keywords:   Giuseppe Bencivenni Pelli, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, humanitarian instincts, Transalpine Enlightenment, Montesquieu, Hugo Grotius, punishment, Heineccius, Vattel

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