General Introduction

Joel Feinberg

in The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law Volume 1: Harm to Others

Published in print August 1987 | ISBN: 9780195046649
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868728 | DOI:
General Introduction

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Specifies the parameters of Feinberg's inquiry: he is concerned with the limits of the legitimate power of the state to impose criminal prohibitions on “primary” crimes. Put differently, his concern is the moral limits of individual liberty (understood as an absence of legal coercion). Criminal law regulates one's liberty by imposing duties, extending liberties, and conferring rights. Coercion‐legitimizing or liberty‐limiting principles provide moral considerations that weigh against the presumptive case for liberty. As a proponent of liberalism, Feinberg aims to limit the number of liberty‐limiting principles to the harm principle and the offense principle.

Keywords: coercion; criminal prohibitions; duties; harm principle; liberalism; liberty; offense principle; power; rights; state

Chapter.  11634 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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