Crime and Punishment: A Concise Moral Critique

Paperback | March 19, 2015

byHyman Gross

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It is generally assumed that we are justified in punishing criminals because they have committed a morally wrongful act. Determining when criminal liability should be imposed calls for a moral assessment of the conduct in question, with criminal liability tracking as closely as possible thecontours of morality. Versions of this view are frequently argued for in philosophical accounts of crime and punishment, and seem to be presumed by lawyers and policy makers working in the criminal justice system.Challenging such assumptions, this book considers the dominant justifications of punishment and subjects them to a piercing moral critique. It argues that none overcome the objection that people who are convicted of a serious crime and sent to prison have their basic human rights violated. Theinstitution of criminal punishment is shown to be a regrettable necessity not deserving of the moral enthusiasm it enjoys among many politicians and the popular press. From a moral point of view, punishment is entitled at best to grudging toleration.In the course of developing the argument, the book introduces the principal issues of criminal law theory with the aim of presenting a morally enlightened perspective on crimes and why we punish them. Enforcement of the law by police, prosecutors, and courts is a matter of concern for politicalmorality, and the principal practices of the criminal justice system are subjected to moral scrutiny. The book presents an original, engaging, and provocative approach to the philosophy of crime and punishment, challenging not only students, but a wide range of other readers to rethink thefascinating and troubling questions at the foundations of crime and punishment.

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It is generally assumed that we are justified in punishing criminals because they have committed a morally wrongful act. Determining when criminal liability should be imposed calls for a moral assessment of the conduct in question, with criminal liability tracking as closely as possible thecontours of morality. Versions of this view ar...

Hyman Gross is the sometime Arthur Goodhart Professor of Legal Science and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:March 19, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198738099

ISBN - 13:9780198738091

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Crime and Impunity2. Sufficiently Good Reason3. Taking Human Rights Seriously4. Crimes as Pretexts for Improvement5. Crimes as Demands for a Remedy6. Punishment and Injustice7. Crime, Harm, and Moral Wrong8. Criminal Conduct and Its Culpability9. More About Culpability10. Psychoculpability11. Persons and Choices12. Consoling Fictions13. Guilt and Convictability14. The Decline of PunishmentPostscript: Reconceiving Response to CrimeNotesSome Further References

Editorial Reviews

"...his arguments are thought-provoking and worthwhile." --Eric A. Johnson, Notre Dame Philosophical Review