The Ends of Harm: The Moral Foundations of Criminal Law

Paperback | July 27, 2013

byVictor Tadros

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Every modern democratic state imprisons thousands of offenders every year, depriving them of their liberty, causing them a great deal of psychological and sometimes physical harm. Relationships are destroyed, jobs are lost, the risk of the offender being harmed by other offenders is increasedand all at great expense to the state.How can this brutal and costly enterprise be justified? Traditionally, philosophers answering this question have argued either that the punishment of wrongdoers is a good in itself (retributivism), or that it is a regrettable means to a valuable end, such as the deterrence of future wrongdoing, andthus justifiable on consequentialist grounds. This book offers a critical examination of those theories and advances a new argument for punishment's justification, calling it the "duty view". On this view, the permission to punish offenders is grounded in the duties that they incur in virtue oftheir wrongdoing. The most important duties that ground the justification of punishment are the duty to recognize that the offender has done wrong and the duty to protect others against wrongdoing. In the light of these duties the state has a permission to punish offenders to ensure that theyrecognize that what they have done is wrong, but also to protect others from crime.In contrast to other justifications of punishment grounded in deterrence, the duty view is developed in the light of a non-consequentialist moral theory: a theory which endorses constraints on the pursuit of the good. It is shown that it is normally wrong to harm a person as a means to pursue agreater good. However, there are exceptions to this principle in cases where the person harmed has an enforceable duty to pursue the good. The implications of this idea are explored both in the context of self-defence, and then in the context of punishment. Through the systematic exploration of therelationship between self-defence and punishment, the book makes significant progress in defending a plausible set of non-consequentialist moral principles that justify the punishment of wrongdoers, and marks a significant contribution to the philosophical literature on punishment.

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Every modern democratic state imprisons thousands of offenders every year, depriving them of their liberty, causing them a great deal of psychological and sometimes physical harm. Relationships are destroyed, jobs are lost, the risk of the offender being harmed by other offenders is increasedand all at great expense to the state.How ca...

Victor Tadros is Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the University of Warwick. Prior to his appointment at Warwick he held positions at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. He has written on criminal responsibility, criminal offences, criminal trials, the presumption of innocence, just war theory, and various aspects...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:July 27, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199681910

ISBN - 13:9780199681914

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionThe Aims of Punishment2. Justifying Punishment3. Recognition and Choice4. Against Desert5. The Limits of CommunicationMeans, Motivations, and Ends6. Defending the Means Principle7. Wrongdoing and MotivationPermissibility, Harm, and Self-Defence8. Choice, Responsibility, and Permissible Harm9. Conflicts and Permissibility10. Mistakes and Self-Defence11. Responsibility and Self-DefencePunishment and the Duties of Offenders12. Punishment as a Remedy13. State Punishment14. Protection Against Punishment15. Proportionate Punishment

Editorial Reviews

"Tadros's new book makes striking and original contributions not only to penal theory, but to moral philosophy more broadly. Starting from a vivid reminder of just how morally problematic the practice of state punishment is, he develops an instrumentalist account of punishment as generaldeterrence, but does so on the basis of a firmly non-instrumentalist, Kantian moral theory to which the idea of respect for persons (along with the 'means principle' that forbids treating people as means) is central. The key new idea here is that those who commit crimes acquire duties to theirvictims, including the duty to protect them against future harm; this, Tadros argues, can then justify the imposition of deterrent punishments as a way of enforcing those protective duties." --Professor R. A. Duff, University of Stirling and University of Minnesota, 2011