‘Contextualizing’ 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

‘Contextualizing’ Blame

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This chapter examines an alternative revisionist approach to criminal justice thinking by focusing on the work of Antony Duff. The Kantian problematic encourages both defensive rationalisation of a morality of form and critical revision, which, seeking to move beyond the ‘mother position’, still remains tied to it. This is what characterises the three main moves in Duff's work, in his theory of punishment, his account of responsibility, and his analysis of legal culpability. The chapter begins with a discussion on the nature of revisionism in criminal justice thinking, then moves to a critique of Duff's views on blameworthiness, responsibility, and culpability. Duff's revisionist attempts to graft ‘contextual’ additions onto the Kantian framework, to make good its separations, are analysed. Duff develops a communitarian view of the blameworthy subject, a character view of the responsible subject, and a morally substantive view of the culpable subject. All three moves are invoked by the Kantian problematic of false separation.

Keywords: Antony Duff; criminal justice; morality of form; blameworthiness; responsibility; culpability; revisionism; punishment; false separation

Chapter.  12560 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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