Criminal Law and the Autonomy Assumption: Adorno, Bhaskar, and Critical Legal Theory

Journal of Critical Realism 13 (4):339-367 (2014)
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This article considers and criticizes criminal law‘s assumption of the moral autonomy of individuals, showing how that view rests on questionable and obscure Kantian commitments about the self, and proposes a naturalistic alternative developed through a synthetic reading of Adorno‘s and Bhaskar‘s account of the subject in relation to nature and society. As an embodied, emergent, changing subject whose practically rational powers are emergent, polymorphous, and contingent, the subject‘s moral autonomy is dependent on the conditions for experiences of solidarity in four-planar nature. This view makes criminal theory‘s Autonomy Assumption look deeply questionable; autonomy must be a complex, nuanced open question, not an abstract, a priori default assumption.



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Craig Reeves
Birkbeck College

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References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
The sources of normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Onora O'Neill.
Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life.Derk Pereboom - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
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Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments.R. Jay Wallace - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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