The constitution of the criminal law
Duff, R.A. and Farmer, Lindsay and Marshall, Sandra and Renzo, Massimo and Tadros, Victor, eds. (2013) The constitution of the criminal law. Oxford ; UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199673872Full text not available from this repository.
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R.A. Duff and John Gardner have recently suggested that responsibility should be understood in terms of answerability, i.e. in terms of the reasons offered by the agent in order to justify her conduct. However, this idea is formulated in very different ways by the two. Gardner’s account is “non-relational” in that it assumes that all moral reasons ultimately apply to every moral agent and that “everyone’s conformity to every reason is everyone’s business”. This means that, although there are obvious pragmatic reasons to limit the practice of calling each other to account, in principle we are answerable to everyone for everything. The model defended by Duff, on the other hand, is relational in that it ties the right to call someone to account to the existence of relevant normative relationships between members of specific groups. In particular, Duff ties criminal responsibility to membership in the political community: being criminally responsible is being answerable to our fellow citizens for those wrongs that violate the fundamental values of the political community.
While espousing the relational model defended by Duff, I suggest that there is a class of wrongs, namely violations of basic human rights, for which we are answerable not only to our fellow citizens, but also to all human beings. This is because while we can account for the wrongness of crimes such as theft or tax evasion simply by appealing to Duff’s thought that these crimes violate the fundamental values of the political community, the wrongness of crimes such as murder or rape cannot be reduced to that. We are certainly answerable for these crimes to our fellow citizens because to the extent that our polity declares them as public wrongs, in perpetrating them we fail to treat the victim with the respect owed to her as a fellow citizen. But we are also answerable for them to the whole of humanity because in committing them we also fail to treat the victim with the respect owed to her as a fellow human being.
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Faculty of Social Sciences > Philosophy
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
|Place of Publication:||Oxford ; UK|
|Book Title:||The constitution of the criminal law|
|Editor:||Duff, R.A. and Farmer, Lindsay and Marshall, Sandra and Renzo, Massimo and Tadros, Victor|
|Official Date:||January 2013|
|Number of Pages:||256|
|Status:||Not Peer Reviewed|
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