Crime, Guilt and Punishment: A Philosophical Introduction
This book considers philosophical theories of punishment in the light of both abstract arguments and factual evidence about the effects of punishing offenders. The author links the moral justification of punishment by the state to more general issues about the nature of moral disagreements and our obligations to obey the law. He applies the discussion to problems about the punishment of a variety of offenders, including those who are mentally ill and dangerous, Nazi war criminals, "negligent" rapists and drivers, and those who cause harm without being at fault. The author also considers whether the proper function of the criminal law is to prevent socially harmful acts or to punish moral wrongdoers; what the rationale of legal excuses is; and whether punishment should be replaced by some form of treatment of offenders. These and other issues are discussed in the context of a thorough and systematic survey of recent literature. Students of the philosophy of law, moral philosophy, jurisprudence, and political philosophy will find it of specially interest.
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