Individualizing Blame


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

Individualizing Blame

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This chapter discusses criminal justice thinking and its problems as a localised form of identity thinking. Criminal justice thinking draws on a Kantian individual, who is autonomous, responsible for, and in control of, her actions. This fixed and monadic subject links legal responsibility to a particular view of moral responsibility which, with its emphasis on abstract and general qualities of human agency, is referred to as a morality of form. The chapter opposes to this, in line with an entity relational standpoint, the idea of the relationality of blame, an idea which links the agent dialectically with the social and moral context of his/her actions. A critique of law's formal morality is presented in relation to two leading criminal justice thinkers, Michael Moore and Antony Duff.

Keywords: blame; criminal justice; identity thinking; responsibility; morality of form; relationality; Michael Moore; Antony Duff

Chapter.  11771 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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