Relationizing 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

Relationizing Blame

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This chapter argues for a relational theory of blame which allocates responsibility for wrongdoing between an individual and a community. It examines what is of value in the Kantian approach to criminal justice, the focus on individual moral agency, from the way it is deployed within Kantianism, but also from the way it is attacked by historical, structural, or poststructural critiques. It negotiates a middle way between Kantianism on the one hand and structuralist and poststructuralist accounts of the individual subject on the other. The problem of charting a middle course between Kantianism and postmodernism is first outlined. The use of Rom Harré's social psychology alongside Roy Bhaskar's dialectical philosophy to develop a relational approach to agency in criminal justice is then explained. The chapter also establishes a relational approach to questions of individual selfhood and autonomy, which are the bedrock for the conception of a blaming relation.

Keywords: Kantianism; criminal justice; moral agency; Rom Harré; Roy Bhaskar; selfhood; autonomy; blame; postmodernism

Chapter.  12235 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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