The Limits of Kantian Justice


in Punishment, Responsibility, and Justice

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780198259565
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191710636 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

The Limits of Kantian Justice

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This chapter looks at current debates in criminal justice thinking and identifies dialectical themes of connection and false separation. It proceeds by employing a method of immanent critique to show how philosophically sophisticated, state-of-the-art, accounts of liberal criminal justice theory reveal its inherent limits, contradictions, and problems. The first account, by Antony Duff, is a defence of criminal justice thinking against the critical charge that the criminal law is inherently composed of contradictions, and it therefore discusses the commitment of liberal theory to a rationalistic model of criminal justice. This involves a false separation of issues that are intrinsically connected, but one that is as necessary to create as it is impossible to defend if a moral view of criminal justice is to be attempted. The second essay, by John Gardner, itself presents a telling critique, of Aristotelian provenance, of the limits of a Kantian account of the individual within criminal justice thinking.

Keywords: Kantian justice; criminal justice; Antony Duff; John Gardner; false separation; criminal law; liberal theory; contradictions

Chapter.  10657 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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