Criminal Law and Philosophy 3 (1):79-95 (2009)
|Abstract||Criminalizing arson is both easy and hard. On the substantive merits, the conduct of damaging property by fire uncontroversially warrants criminal sanction. Indeed, punishment for such conduct is overdetermined, as the conduct threatens multiple harms of concern to the criminal law: both damage to property and injury to people. Yet the same multiplicity of harms or threats that makes it easy to criminalize arson (in the sense of deciding to proscribe the underlying behavior) also makes it hard to criminalize arson (in the sense of formulating the offense(s) that will address that behavior). This article asks whether adopting one or more arson offenses is the best way for criminal law to address the conduct in question, or whether that conduct is more properly conceptualized, criminalized, and punished as multiple distinct offenses|
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