This book aims to answer the question of why, and by what right, some people punish others. With a groundbreaking new theory, Matravers argues that the justification of punishment must be embedded in a larger political and moral theory. He also uses the problem of punishment to undermine contemporary accounts of justice.
In this lively and accessible book, Matt Matravers considers the highly contested role of responsibility in politics, morality, and the law. He asks, what are we doing when we hold people responsible in deciding questions of distributive justice or of punishment? and considers the role of philosophy in answering this very contemporary question.
Antony Duff has argued that an important precondition of criminal liability is that the state has the moral standing to call the offender to account. Conditions of severe social injustice, if allowed or perpetuated by the state, can undermine this standing. Duffs argument appeals to the ordinary idea that a persons own behaviour can sometimes negate his standing to call others to account. It is argued that this is an important issue, but that the analogy with individual standing is problematic. (...) Moreover, Duffs account of standing needs to address two interconnected issues: first, when and in what way the state can lose its standing to call offenders to account, and second, over what range of offences. Key Words: criminal liability Duff punishment social injustice. (shrink)
Australian law has arguably given expression to three moral duties relating to induced assumptions: the duty to keep promises, the duty not to lie and the duty to ensure the reliability of induced assumptions. This book expounds the third of these duties and shows how it can be used to shape equitable estoppel, a doctrine emerging from the decisions of the High Court of Australia in Waltons Stores and Verwayen. It does not purport to cover the entire law of estoppel, (...) but does examine, analytically, how the doctrine might operate in a series of problematic cases at the edge of contract law. (shrink)
This brief article is concerned with an aspect of Jonathan Glover's book, Alien Landscapes?. After reflecting a little on the book as a whole, the question that is taken up is, ‘Why might a book that seeks to help those without mental disorders understand what they are like “from the inside” be of interest to laymen and practitioners in the criminal law?’. One answer lies in part in the way that ‘what it is like from the inside’ might interact with (...) judgements of criminal responsibility. Taking its cue from examples used by Glover the article considers, and puts pressure on, the ‘dual view’ he proposes: that when dealing with those with mental disorders we should treat them as responsible agents in the sense of not withholding from them Strawson's ‘reactive attitudes’, while nevertheless accepting that their personalities and behaviours are the results of large doses of ‘bad luck’. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the tensions that arise when one juxtaposes one important liberal understanding of the nature and use of state power in circumstances of pluralism and (broadly) retributive accounts of punishment. The argument is that there are aspects of the liberal theory that seem to be in tension with aspects of retributive punishment, and that these tensions are difficult to avoid because of the attractiveness of precisely those features of each account. However, a proper understanding of both (...) liberalism and retributive punishment allows us to dissolve some of the tensions whilst also bringing each position into sharper relief. The paper begins by introducing the liberal position and outlining the apparent tensions that may arise with retributive punishment. In so doing, there is also a brief discussion of how this debate relates to the more familiar dispute between legal moralists and their opponents. The paper then proceeds by considering each of the areas of tension in turn. (shrink)
What place, if any, ought cultural considerations have when we blame and punish in the criminal law? Bringing together political and legal theorists Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity offers original and diverse discussions that go to the heart of both legal and political debates about multiculturalism, human agency, and responsibility.
In the last thirty years, the USA and the UK have witnessed a profound change in the way in which we think about and respond to crime and social control. Crime has become part of everyday life as, for many citizens, has imprisonment. Managing Modernity brings together criminologists, social theorists, and philosophers to consider what explains these changes and what they tell us about ourselves and the way in which we live. The authors consider the pervasive, the obvious, and the (...) covert ways in which crime and social order have come to structure social discourses and social life, from mass imprisonment to zero tolerance, to on-the-spot fines. This volume was previously published as a special issue of the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. (shrink)
Andrew Simester and Andreas von Hirsch’s Crimes, Harms, and Wrongs: On the Principles of Criminalisation (Simester and von Hirsch 2011) is an important contribution to the philosophical debate over the nature and ethical limits of criminalisation. As they note in their reply in this symposium, one of the novel aspects of their account is that they do not advance one “unified, grand theory”. Rather, they analyse each ground of criminal prohibition—wrongfulness, harm-based, offense, and paternalistic prohibitions aimed at preventing self-harm—so as (...) to develop guiding principles for their use (or, in the case of paternalism, the absence of an independent principle that would underwrite its use).The result is a rich set of arguments that advance a number of debates across the field of criminalisation.However, that is not all: the participants share the view that, as Tatjana Hörnle puts it, “any theory of criminalization presupposes assumptions about the functions of the criminal law. The q. (shrink)
Michelle Madden Dempsey’s Prosecuting Domestic Violence: A Philosophical Analysis (2009) is an important book for many reasons. Amongst these are the prevalence of domestic violence and the extraordinary, largely unaccountable discretionary powers wielded by prosecutors in the United States. Against this background, Dempsey asks in particular what prosecutors should do when the victims of domestic violence withdraw their support from the proposed prosecution. In Prosecuting Domestic Violence, Dempsey provides a general account of prosecutorial practical reasoning that can be applied to (...) answer this question. Given that she argues that “particularly aggressive prosecution” is in at least some cases justified, the later chapters of the book address issues surrounding the victims of domestic violence: their rights and duties when it comes to prosecution and the measures that might be directed against victims who are unwilling to co-operate.What Dempsey calls her “central analytic tool” in .. (shrink)
In this essay I agrue that contemporary Anglo-American liberal egalitarianism has at its heart a tension: the goal is to find principles of justice that are fair in respecting the distinction between choice and chance and that do not invoke controversial metaphysical arguments. This is a tension because distinguishing between choice and chance itself requires invoking controversial metaphysical arguments. I proceed by offering, and then examining, the thought that Scanlon's distinction between ?attributive? and ?substantive? responsibility offers a route out of (...) the tension described above. The greater part of the essay is taken up with examining Scanlon's account of responsibility and the distinction between substantive and attributive responsibility. My conclusion is that Scanlon does not offer a compelling account of substantive compatibilism; that his theory does not, therefore, release the liberal egalitarian from the tension; but that this does not show that the direction indicated by Scanlon's theory is the wrong one. (shrink)
This collection brings together essays which reflect on the detailed arguments of "What We Owe to Each Other", and which comment critically both on Scanlon's contractualism and his revised understandings of motivation and morality. The essays illustrate the uses of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to moral and political problems and in so doing they provide an assessment of the ability of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to other forms of ethical theory. So, the central questions are: "What is the (...) best interpretation of the theory advanced in "'What We Owe to Each Other?'"; "How does the theory, so interpreted, stand up to criticism?"; and "How does contractualism handle certain difficult problems in politics and ethics?". To answer these questions, the collection includes the work of distinguished political philosophers. The resulting volume will make an important and original contribution to the literature on Scanlon, on contractualism and on contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
Brian Barry's Justice as Impartiality is an important book. One of its contributions to the discipline is a characteristically clear presentation of what follows if one accepts a commitment to equality, and the reasonableness of continuing and profound disagreements about the nature of the good life. I take the argument of Justice as Impartiality to be an important next step in the attempt to give an account of the content of justice which is impartial, fair, or neutral between conceptions of (...) the good, and engaging with it has the great advantage that many of the criticisms that can be made of Barry apply to other liberal contractualist theories of social justice. It is faintly ironic that it is one of Barry's great virtues, his clarity, that makes it easier to see the problems inherent in the attempt to complete the impartialist project. I have not attempted below to offer a systematic summary and critique of Barry's book or any particular section of it. Instead I have opted to try to engage with the ideas that drive it at a more fundamental level. (shrink)