John Deigh

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Criminal Law

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195314854
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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There is a conception entailed by the retributive rationale for punishment, modeled on the idea of moral responsibility for wrongdoing. That is, legal guilt, on this conception, is modeled on moral guilt. The conception entailed by the deterrence rationale, by contrast, does not reflect an understanding of punishment as a just desert for crime. Rather, it reflects an understanding of punishment as a means of preventing crime. Others hold a mixed theory, maintaining that considerations of fairness ought to constrain the pursuit of efficiency in the use of punishment to prevent crime, and they therefore take these considerations as an additional factor which determines the conditions of criminal responsibility. This chapter explicates these conceptions of criminal responsibility, noting the first one desert-based and the second consequence-based.

Keywords: criminal law; punishment; moral responsibility; legal guilt; deterrence; crime prevention; criminal responsibility; desert

Article.  12920 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Law

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