Why Criminal Law: A Question of Content? [Book Review]

Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (2):99-122 (2008)


I take it as obvious that attempts to justify the criminal law must be sensitive to matters of criminalization—to what conduct is proscribed or permitted. I discuss three additional matters that should be addressed in order to justify the criminal law. First, we must have a rough idea of what degree of deviation is tolerable between the set of criminal laws we ought to have and the set we really have. Second, we need information about how the criminal law at any given time and place is administered, since the law in action is bound to differ radically from the law on the books. Finally, we must have some basis for speculating what life would be like in the absence of a system of criminal justice—if the state ceased to impose punishments

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Douglas Husak
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

References found in this work

Taking Rights Seriously.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 1977 - Duckworth.
Two Concepts of Rules.John Rawls - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (1):3-32.
Taking Rights Seriously.Ronald Dworkin - 1979 - Ethics 90 (1):121-130.
The Morality of Law.Lon Luvois Fuller - 1964 - New Haven: Yale University Press.

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Citations of this work

Punishment: Consequentialism.David Wood - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (6):455-469.
Coming Clean About the Criminal Law.James Edwards - 2011 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (3):315-332.

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