Five pre-eminent legal theorists tackle a range of fundamental questions on the nature of the philosophy of criminal law. Their essays explore the extent to which and the ways in which our systems of criminal law can be seen as rational and principled. The essays discuss some of the principles by which, it is often thought, a system of law should be structured, and they ask whether our own systems are genuinely principled or riven by basic contradictions, (...) reflecting deeper political and social conflicts. The volume as a whole shows how lively and exciting contemporary legal theory can be. (shrink)
This work provides, for the first time, a unified account of the theory of action presupposed by both British and American criminal law and its underlying morality. It defends the view that human actions are volitionally caused body movements. This theory illuminates three major problems in drafting and implementing criminal law--what the voluntary act requirement does and should require, what complex descriptions of actions prohibited by criminal codes both do and should require, and when the two actions (...) are the "same" for purposes of assessing whether multiple prosecutions and multiple punishments are warranted. The book contributes to the development of a coherent theory of action in philosophy. It provides a grounding in three of the most basic elements of criminal liability for legislators, judges, and the lawyers who argue to them. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive handbook in the philosophy of criminal law. It contains seventeen original essays by leading thinkers in the field and covers the field's major topics including limits to criminalization, obscenity and hate speech, blackmail, the law of rape, attempts, accomplice liability, causation, responsibility, justification and excuse, duress, provocation and self-defense, insanity, punishment, the death penalty, mercy, and preventive detention and other alternatives to punishment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students whose (...) research and studies concern philosophical issues in criminal law and criminal law theory. (shrink)
In this contribution I address the type of emergency that threatens a stateâs monopoly of violence, meaning that the stateâs competence to provide citizens with elementary security is challenged. The question is, whether actions taken by the state to ward off these threats (should) fall within the ambit of the criminal law. A central problem is the indeterminacy that is inherent in the state of emergency, implicating that adequate measures as well as constitutional constraints to be imposed on such (...) measures cannot easily be determined in advance. This indeterminacy raises two interrelated issues. Firstly, the issue of whether it makes sense to speak of criminaljurisdiction when the existing jurisdiction is challenged as such. To what extent does the indeterminacy call for inherently unlimited powers of the state, implying there can be no such thing as criminaljurisdiction during a state of emergency? Secondâif criminaljurisdiction is not in contradiction with the state of emergencyâthe issue of what criminal liability could mean in such a state needs to be confronted. To what extent does the indeterminacy inherent in the state of emergency jeopardise criminal liability because such indeterminacy engenders severe legal uncertainty regarding the standards against which the relevant actions are to be judged? Both issues will be discussed from the perspective of constitutional democracy, assuming that what is at stake in times of emergency is both the competence to sustain the monopoly of violence and the possibility to constrain the powers of the state. (shrink)
Does criminal liability require an act? -- Motive and criminal liability -- The costs to criminal theory of supposing that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility -- Transferred intent -- The nature and justifiability of nonconsummate offenses -- Strict liability, justice, and proportionality -- The sequential principle of relative culpability -- Willful ignorance, knowledge, and the equal culpability thesis : a study of the significance of the principle of legality -- Rapes without rapists : consent and reasonable mistake (...) -- Mistake of law and culpability -- On the supposed priority of justification to excuse -- Partial defenses -- The "but everybody does that!" defense -- The de minimis "defense" to criminal liability -- Why punish the deserving -- Malum prohibitum and retributivism -- Already punished enough. (shrink)
The wrongness of rape -- Rationality and the rule of law in offences against the person -- Complicity and causality -- In defence of defences -- Justifications and reasons -- The gist of excuses -- Fletcher on offences and defences -- Provocation and pluralism -- The mark of responsibility -- The functions and justifications of criminal law and punishment -- Crime : in proportion and in perspective -- Reply to critics.
The specialised vocabularies of lawyers, ethicists, and political scientists obscure the roots of many real disagreements. In this book, the distinguished American international lawyer Alfred Rubin provides a penetrating account of where these roots lie, and argues powerfully that disagreements which have existed for 3,000 years are unlikely to be resolved soon. Current attempts to make 'war crimes' or 'terrorism' criminal under international law seem doomed to fail for the same reasons that attempts failed in the early nineteenth century (...) to make piracy, war crimes, and the international traffic in slaves criminal under the law of nations. And for the same reasons, Professor Rubin argues, it is unlikely that an international criminal court can be instituted today to enforce ethicists' versions of 'international law'. (shrink)
Larry Alexander and Peter Westen each critically examine different topics from my recent collection of essays, The Philosophy of Criminal Law. Alexander focuses on my “Rapes Without Rapists,” “Mistake of Law and Culpability,” and “Already Punished Enough.” Westen offers a more extended commentary on my “Transferred Intent.” I briefly reply to each critic in turn and try to extend the debates in new directions.
The criminal law raises wonderfully thorny foundational questions. Some of these questions are conceptual: What is a plausible conception of crime ? What is a plausible conception of criminal law ? Some of these questions are genealogical: What are the historical and genealogical roots of the criminal law in a particular jurisdiction? Other questions are evaluative: What are the political and moral values on which a given conception of criminal law depends? What kind of rational (...) reconstruction, if any, could the criminal law be given? And, finally, still other questions are exploratory and normative: Should parts of existing criminal law be abandoned? What new topics in criminal law theory need to be addressed in our globalised, technologically savvy world? The contributors to Antony Duff and Stuart P. Green’s collection Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law tackle these questions with zeal and independent spirit. They disagree markedly with each other about what the foundational questions are. And, they disagree about how those questions should be handled. This article charts their disagreements by situating the contributors within two taxonomies. The first groups them according to their approaches to the foundational questions; the second groups them according to their modes of theorising. This double taxonomy provides a useful frame within which to analyse these competing takes on the philosophically foundational work of criminal law theory. (shrink)
By what right, or under whose authority, do you try me? This is a common challenge raised by defendants standing trial in front of international criminal courts or tribunals. The challenge comes from the fact that traditionally criminal law is justified as a response of the state to wrongdoing that has been identified by the state as a crime. Nevertheless, since the early 1990s we have seen the development of international criminal tribunals that have the authority to (...) judge certain crimes. This article examines the moral foundation for the authority of international tribunals, arguing that it can be grounded on delegation of powers from the states with primary jurisdiction. The first part of the article examines whether there is any problem, as a matter of principle, in founding the courts’ jurisdictional authority on delegation of powers. It will argue that contrary to David Luban’s view, there is no inherent problem with states delegating their power to punish to other states or to international tribunals. Nevertheless, in making such a decision the ability of the court to provide fair process—a necessary requirement for the court’s ability to issue authoritative decisions—should be taken into account. The second part of the article takes the ICC as a case study and examines whether its jurisdiction can be grounded on delegation of powers. It will be shown that the court’s jurisdiction can indeed be founded on both direct and indirect delegation of jurisdiction from states with primary jurisdiction. This conclusion suggests that other international tribunals created by either multilateral treaties or by Security Council decisions may also be founded on similar grounds. (shrink)
International Criminal Law and Philosophy is the first anthology to bring together legal and philosophical theorists to examine the normative and conceptual foundations of international criminal law. In particular, through these essays the international group of authors addresses questions of state sovereignty; of groups, rather than individuals, as perpetrators and victims of international crimes; of international criminal law and the promotion of human rights and social justice; and of what comes after international criminal prosecutions, namely, (...) punishment and reconciliation. International criminal law is still an emerging field, and as it continues to develop, the elucidation of clear, consistent theoretical groundings for its practices will be crucial. The questions raised and issues addressed by the essays in this volume will aid in this important endeavor. (shrink)
In this challenging collection of new essays, leading philosophers and criminal lawyers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada break with the tradition of treating the philosophical foundations of criminal law as an adjunct to the study of punishment. Focusing clearly on the central issues of moral luck, mistake, and mental illness, this volume aims to reorient the study of criminal law. In the process of retrieving valuable material from traditional law classifications, the contributors break (...) down false associations, reveal hidden truths, and establish new patterns of thought. Their always illuminating and sometimes startling conclusions makes this essential reading for all those interested in the philosophy of criminal law. (shrink)
As Federal Indian Law has evolved, many questions have been posed regarding tribal jurisdiction. This paper examines the jurisdiction tribes have over member Indians, non-member Indians, and non-member, non-Indians. It addresses the ethical challenge faced by tribal attorneys who represent non-member Indian clients in a manner that ultimately undermines tribal sovereignty.
This new text will encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of the context and the current workings of the criminal justice system. Part One offers a clear, accessible and comprehensive review of the major philosophical aims and sociological theories of punishment, the history of justice and punishment, and the developing perspective of victimology. In Part Two, the focus is on the main areas of the contemporary criminal justice system including the police, the courts and judiciary, prisons, and (...) community penalties. The active engagement of students with the material covered distinguishes this text from others in the area and makes it a real teaching resource and invaluable text. (shrink)
This article challenges the use of social deprivation as a punishment, and offers a preliminary examination of the human rights implications of exile and solitary confinement. The article considers whether a human right against coercive social deprivation is conceptually redundant, as there are recognised rights against torture, extremely cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment as well as rights to basic health care, education, and security, which might encompass what this right protects. The article argues that the right is not conceptually redundant, (...) but that, even if it were, there would be significant reasons to articulate it. (shrink)
* Why should offenders be punished - what should punishments be designed to achieve? * Why has imprisonment become the normal punishment for crime in modern industrial societies? * What is the relationship between theories of punishment and the actual penalties inflicted on offenders? This revised and updated edition of a highly successful text provides a comprehensive account of the ideas and controversies that have arisen within law, philosophy, sociology and criminology about the punishment of criminals. Written in a (...) clear, accessible style, it summarises major philosophical ideas - retribution, rehabilitation, incapacitation - and discusses their strengths and weaknesses. This new edition has been updated throughout including, for example, a new section on recent cultural studies of punishment and on the phenomenon of mass imprisonment that has emerged in the United States. This second edition includes a new chapter on restorative justice, which has developed considerably in theory and in practice since the publication of the first edition. The sociological perspectives of Durkheim, the Marxists, Foucault and their contemporary followers are analysed and assessed. A section on the criminological perspective on punishment looks at the influence of theory on penal policy, and at the impact of penal ideologies on those on whom punishment is inflicted. The contributions of feminist theorists, and the challenges they pose to masculinist accounts of punishment, are included. The concluding chapter presents critiques of the very idea of punishment, and looks at contemporary proposals which could make society's response to crime less dependent on punishment than at present. Understanding Justice has been designed for students from a range of disciplines and is suitable for a variety of crime-related courses in sociology, social policy, law and social work. It will also be useful to professionals in criminal justice agencies and to all those interested in understanding the issues behind public and political debates on punishment. (shrink)
This book addresses the retributive and "orthodox subjectivist" theories that dominate criminal justice theory alongside recent "revisionist" and "postmodern" approaches. Norrie argues that all these approaches, together with their faults and contradictions, stem from their orientation to themes in Kantian moral philosophy. He explores an alternative relational or dialectical approach; examines the work of Ashworth, Duff, Fletcher, Moore, Smith, and Williams; and considers key doctrinal issues.
The Grammar of Criminal Law is a 3-volume work that addresses the field of international and comparative criminal law, with its primary focus on the issues of international concern, ranging from genocide, to domestic efforts to combat terrorism, to torture, and to other international crimes. The first volume is devoted to foundational issues. The Grammar of Criminal Law is unique in its systematic emphasis on the relationship between language and legal theory; there is no comparable comparative study (...) of legal language. Written in the spirit of Fletcher's classic Rethinking Criminal Law, this work is essential reading in the field of international and comparative law. (shrink)
Written by leading philosophers and lawyers from the United States and the United Kingdom, this collection of original essays offers new insights into the doctrines that make up the general part of the criminal law. It sheds theoretical light on the diversity and unity of the general part and advances our understanding of such key issues as criminalisation, omissions, voluntary actions, knowledge, belief, reckelssness, duress, self-defence, entrapment and officially-induced mistake of law.
This book presents a comprehensive overview of what the criminal law would look like if organized around the principle that those who deserve punishment should receive punishment commensurate with, but no greater than, that which they ...
In recent years, political philosophers have hotly debated whether ordinary citizens have a general pro tanto moral obligation to follow the law. Contemporary philosophers have had less to say about the same question when applied to public officials. In this paper, I consider the latter question in the morally complex context of criminal justice. I argue that criminal justice officials have no general pro tanto moral obligation to adhere to the legal dictates and lawful rules of their offices. (...) My claim diverges not only from the commonsense view about such officials, but also from the positions standardly taken in legal theory and political science debates, which presume there is some general obligation that must arise from legal norms and be reconciled with political realities. I defend my claim by highlighting the conceptual gap between the rigid, generalised, codified rules that define a criminal justice office and the special moral responsibilities of the various moral roles that may underpin that office (such as guard, guardian, healer, educator, mediator, counsellor, advocate, and carer). After addressing four objections to my view, I consider specific contexts in which criminal justice officials are obligated not to adhere to the demands of their offices. Amongst other things, the arguments advanced in this paper raise questions about both the distribution of formal discretion in the criminal justice system and the normative validity of some of the offices that presently exist in criminal justice systems. (shrink)
Gideon Yaffe presents a ground-breaking work which demonstrates the importance of philosophy of action for the law. Many people are serving sentences not for completing crimes, but for trying to. So the law governing attempted crimes is of practical as well as theoretical importance. Questions arising in the adjudication of attempts intersect with questions in the philosophy of action, such as what intention a person must have, if any, and what a person must do, if anything, to be (...) trying to act. Yaffe offers solutions to the difficult problems courts face in the adjudication of attempted crimes. He argues that the problems courts face admit of principled solution through reflection either on what it is to try to do something; or on what evidence is required for someone to be shown to have tried to do something; or on what sentence for an attempt is fair given the close relation between attempts and completions. The book argues that to try to do something is to be committed by one's intention to each of the components of success and to be guided by those commitments. Recognizing the implications of this simple and plausible position helps us to identify principled grounds on which the courts ought to distinguish between defendants charged with attempted crimes. (shrink)
In this volume, Feinberg focuses on the meanings of "interest," the relationship between interests and wants, and the distinction between want-regarding and ideal-regarding analyses on interest and hard cases for the applications of the concept of harm. Examples of the "hard cases" are harm to character, vicarious harm, and prenatal and posthumous harm. Feinberg also discusses the relationship between harm and rights, the concept of a victim, and the distinctions of various quantitative dimensions of harm, consent, and offense, including the (...) magnitude, probability, risk, and "importance" of harm. (shrink)
This Major Reference series brings together a wide range of key international articles in law and legal theory. Many of these essays are not readily accessible, and their presentation in these volumes will provide a vital new resource for both research and teaching. Each volume is edited by leading international authorities who explain the significance and context of articles in an informative and complete introduction.
This book is the product of a major British Academy Symposium held in 2007 to mark the centenary of the birth of H.L.A. Hart, the most important legal philosopher and one of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century. -/- The book brings together contributions from seventeen of the world's foremost legal and political philosophers who explore the many subjects in which Hart produced influential work. Each essay engages in an original analysis of philosophical problems that were tackled (...) by Hart, some essays including extended critical discussions of his major works: The Concept of Law, Punishment and Responsibility, Causation in the Law and Law, Liberty and Morality. All the main topics of Hart's philosophical writings are featured: general jurisprudence and legal positivism; criminal responsibility and punishment; theories of rights; toleration and liberty; theories of justice; and causation in the law. (shrink)
pt. 1. Philosophy and law -- Direct and oblique intention and malice aforethought -- Intention and mens rea in murder -- Duress per minas as a defence to crime -- The expert in court -- pt. 2. Philosophy and war -- Counterforce and countervalue -- Better dead than Red -- The logic and ethics of nuclear deterrence -- Risk, recklessness, and extravagance -- Epilogue -- Enemies of academic freedom.
This contribution aims to explain how European Criminal Law can be understood as constitutive of European identity. Instead of starting from European identity as a given, it provides a philosophical analysis of the construction of self-identity in relation to criminal law and legal tradition. The argument will be that the self-identity of those that share jurisdiction depends on and nourishes the legal tradition they adhere to and develop, while criminaljurisdiction is of crucial importance in (...) this process of mutual constitution. This analysis will be complemented with a discussion of the integration of the first and the third pillar as aimed for by the Constitutional Treaty (TE), which would bring criminal law under majority rule and European democratic control. Attention will be paid to two ground breaking judgements of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that seem to boil down to the fact that the Court actually manages to achieve some of the objectives of the CT even if this is not in force. This gives rise to a discussion of how the CT (and related judgements of the ECJ) may transform European criminal law in the Union to EU criminal law of the Union, thus producing an identity of the Union next to the identities prevalent in the Union. The contribution concludes with some normative questions about the kind of European identity we should aim to establish, given the fact that such identity will arise with further integration of criminal law into the first pillar. (shrink)
Organ trafficking and trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ transplantation are recognized as significant international problems. Yet these forms of trafficking are largely left out of international criminal law regimes and to some extent of domestic criminal law regimes as well. Trafficking of organs or persons for their organs does not come within the jurisdiction of the ICC, except in very special cases such as when conducted in a manner that conforms to the definitions of (...) genocide or crimes against humanity. Although the United States Code characterizes trafficking as a transnational crime with national implications, (22 U.S.C. Â§ 7101(b)(24) (2010)), trafficking is rarely prosecuted in domestic courts. It has thus functioned in practice largely as what might be judged a stateless offense, out of the purview of both international and national courts. Yet these forms of organ trafficking remain widespreadâand devastating to those who are its victims. In this article, we begin by describing what is known about the extent of organ trafficking and trafficking in persons for the purpose of removal of organs. We then critically evaluate how and why such trafficking has remained largely unaddressed by both international and domestic criminal law regimes. This state of affairs, we argue, presents a missed chance for developing the legitimacy of international criminal law and an illustration of how far current international legal institutions remain from ideal justice. (shrink)
Criminal law commonly requires judges and juries to decide whether defendants acted reasonably. Nevertheless, issues of reasonableness fall into two distinct categories: (1) where reasonableness concerns events and states, including risks of which an actor is conscious, that can be justly assessed without regard to the actorâs individual traits, and (2) where reasonableness concerns culpable mental states and emotions that cannot justly be assessed without reference to the actorâs capacities. This distinction is significant because, while the reasonable person by (...) which category-1 cases are assessed is a disembodied and impersonal ideal that consists of nothing but the uncompromising values of the jurisdiction, the reasonable person by which category-2 cases are measured must necessarily incorporate some of an actorâs individual traits or risk blaming the blameless. Courts and commentators have thus far approached the task of individualizing or subjectivizing reasonableness in category 2 by trying to determine in advance which individual traits are generally relevant and which are not. I propose an alternative approach that, in addition to applying to negligence and voluntary manslaughter cases alike, derives its content from the social practice of blaming. I propose that a reasonable person in category-2 cases consists of every physical, psychological, and emotional trait an actor possesses, with one exceptionâthe exception being that he possesses proper respect for the values of the people of the state as reflected and incorporated in the statute at hand. (shrink)
There is no question Arthur Ripstein’s Force and Freedom is an engaging and powerful book which will inform legal philosophy, particularly Kantian theories, for years to come. The text explores with care Kant’s legal and political philosophy, distinguishing it from his better known moral theory. Nor is Ripstein’s book simply a recounting of Kant’s legal and political theory. Ripstein develops Kant’s views in his own unique vision illustrating fresh ways of viewing the entire Kantian project. But the same (...) strength and coherence which ties the book to Kant’s important values of independence blinds the work to our shared moral ties grounded in other political values. Ripstein’s thoughts on punishment are novel in that he embeds criminal law, both in its retributivist and consequentialist facets, into Kant’s overarching political philosophy to show how criminal law can be seen as one aspect of the supremacy of public law. But a criminal law solely focused on the preservation of freedom takes little notice of the ways criminal law need expand its view to account for how a polity can restore the victim of a crime back to civic equality, reincorporate offenders after they have been punished and cannot leave past offenders isolated and likely to reoffend, resulting in the rotating door prison system and communities of innocents who remain preyed upon by career criminals. Lastly, a political theory that does not prize our civic bonds will ignore the startling balkanization of our criminal punishment practices, where policing, arresting and imprisonment become tools of racial and social oppression. In illustrating the benefits in viewing criminal law as a coherent part of Kant’s political theory of freedom, Ripstein also highlights what is absent. It then becomes clear that though Kant presents one important facet of punishment, only a republican political theory can meet the most pressing moral demands of punishment by reminding us that criminal law must be used to preserve and strengthen civic society. (shrink)
In this contribution we will explore some of the implications of the vision of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) for law and legal philosophy. AmI creates an environment that monitors and anticipates human behaviour with the aim of customised adaptation of the environment to a personâs inferred preferences. Such an environment depends on distributed human and non-human intelligence that raises a host of unsettling questions around causality, subjectivity, agency and (criminal) liability. After discussing the vision of AmI we will present (...) relevant research in the field of philosophy of technology, inspired by the post-phenomenological position taken by Don Ihde and the constructivist realism of Bruno Latour. We will posit the need to conceptualise technological normativity in comparison with legal normativity, claiming that this is necessary to develop democratic accountability for the implications of emerging technologies like AmI. Lastly we will investigate to what extent technological devices and infrastructures can and should be used to achieve compliance with the criminal law, and we will discuss some of the implications of non-human distributed intelligence for criminal liability. (shrink)
The mystery does not always end when the crime has been solved. Indeed, the most insolvable problems of crime and punishment are not so much who committed the crime, but how to see that justice is done. Now, in this illuminating volume, one of America's great legal thinkers, Norval Morris, addresses some of the most perplexing and controversial questions of justice in a highly singular fashion--by examining them in fictional form, in what he calls "parables of the law." The protagonist (...) of these stories, the figure who must see that justice is done, is Eric Blair, a name familiar to most readers: it's the real name of George Orwell. In fact, Morris has set his tales in the time and place of Orwell's famous essay, "Shooting an Elephant," in Moulmein, Burma, in the 1920s. What might seem a curious strategy at first glance--borrowing Orwell's persona to narrate these tales--is actually a brilliant stroke. For in Eric Blair we have an ideal narrator to highlight the complexities of justice: an untrained police lieutenant and junior magistrate, uncertain of judgement--and all the more likely to anguish over judgement, and to examine every facet of a case before deciding. And in 1920s Moulmein we have a neutral time and space in which to consider--free of our own political, religious, or social prejudices--a set of contemporary legal and moral questions that rarely find so calm an arena. And these stories certainly address some highly charged issues--capital punishment, insanity as a murder defense, the "battered wife syndrome" as a murder defense, child custody, "parental neglect" due to religious conviction--to name a few. In each tale, Norval Morris excels at placing Blair at the center of a controversy that has no easy answer, and that he and he alone must decide. In the title story, for instance, a retarded boy, whose only understanding of sex comes from the brothel in which he works, accidentally murders a young girl while raping her, his only defense being "Please sir, I paid her." Blair can see that the boy doesn't realize that he has committed a crime, but both the Burmese and the European community of Moulmein demand the boy's execution. Does capital punishment make sense in such an instance? Does it ever make sense? To broaden our understanding of these intricate cases, Morris concludes each story with a perceptive and often provocative commentary on each issue. After "Brothel Boy," for instance, Morris points out that no reputable study has ever shown capital punishment to be an effective deterrent to future murders, and more surprisingly, that paroled murderers commit proportionately fewer homicides than paroled felons who used a firearm in the commission of their crime. Norval Morris is one of America's foremost experts on crime and punishment, and the stories collected here represent the culmination of a lifetime of thought on the major criminal law debates of our time. A reader of these tales will come away with a deeper understanding of these debates and with a profound respect for the intricacies of justice and the complexity of the law. (shrink)
Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label “neuroscience”; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks – at least one for each (...) responsibility concept – and, I will suggest, a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question. (shrink)
Most readers believe that it is difficult, verging on the impossible, to extract concrete prescriptions from the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. Although this view is largely correct, Levinas’ philosophy can, with some assistance, generate specific duties on the part of legal actors. In this paper, I argue that the fundamental premises of Levinas’ theory of justice can be used to construct a prohibition against capital punishment. After analyzing Levinas’ concepts of justice, responsibility, and interruption, I turn toward his scattered (...) remarks on legal institutions, arguing that they enable a sense of interruption specific to the legal domain. It is here that we find the conceptual resources most important to my Levinasian abolition. I argue that the interruption of legal justice by responsibility implies what I call the principle of revisability. The principle of revisability states a necessary condition of just legal institutions: To be just, legal institutions must ensure the possibility of revising any and all of their rules, principles, and judgments. From this, the argument against capital punishment easily follows. Execution is a legal act, perhaps the only legal act, that cannot be undone. An application of the principle of revisability to this fact leads to the conclusion that legal institutions cannot justly impose capital punishment. After defending these points at length, I conclude with some observations on the consequences of the principle of revisability for law more generally. (shrink)
Behaviour, including criminal behaviour, takes place in lived contexts of embodied action and experience. The way in which abstract models of selfhood efface the individual as a unique, living being is a central aspect of the ‘ethical-other’ debate; if an individual is modelled as abstracted from this ‘living’ context, that individual cannot be properly or meaningfully linked with his or her behaviour, and thus cannot justly be understood as responsible. The dominant rational choice models of criminal identity in (...) legal theory involve at least a partial abstraction of this ‘unethical’ type by prioritising the rational will over the more fluid dimensions of lived reality. From a phenomenological perspective, an approach of ‘restlessness’ is proposed which precludes the development of settled or general abstract categories, and can thus move us closer to an ethical understanding of living individuals on a theoretical level. Although such a move may initially seem to threaten criminal justice with an irrational nihilism, by maintaining awareness of the irreducibility of ‘living’ reality a restless theoretical understanding of moral selfhood may be able to shape or underpin the attribution of responsibility in more practical or substantive contexts without succumbing to meaninglessness. (shrink)
Philosophy of Law: An Introduction provides an ideal starting point for students of philosophy and law, assuming no prior knowledge of either subject. The book is structured around the key issues and themes in philosophy of law: * What is the law? - the major legal theories including realism, positivism and natural law * The reach of the law - authority, rights, liberty, privacy and tolerance * Criminal responsibility and punishment - legal defenses, crime, diminished responsibility (...) and theories of punishment. The second edition expands the original focus on mainstream legal theory to look at contemporary critical perspectives such as feminist theories on pornography and freedom of speech, and Foucault's radical approach to criminal responsibility. Philosophy of Law has also been updated to include recent developments such as cases of conjoined twins, and the Human Rights Act. With study questions at the end of each chapter, and a new conclusion assessing both traditional legal theory and the various critical perspectives, this is the ideal textbook for introducing students to the philosophy of law. (shrink)