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Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law (Hardback)
  • Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law (Hardback)
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Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law (Hardback)

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£90.00
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 08/11/2007
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John Gardner's writings on the theory of criminal law have had a significant impact on the way that this subject is understood by legal scholars and philosophers. This book collects together a selection of his best-known and most provocative pieces. John Gardner tackles persistent and troublesome questions about the philosophical foundations of the criminal law. Which wrongs are suitable to be crimes and why? What are the conditions of criminal responsibility, and how do they relate to the conditions of moral responsibility? What does it take to be complicit in another's wrongdoing? Should crimes ever be excused, and if so, on what basis? How, if at all, should the criminal law adapt to conditions of social and cultural diversity? The issues raised in these essays have a significance extending beyond the law. What does it mean to be a responsible agent and why does it matter? Is my moral character only or mostly my own business? Is there a difference between being reasonable and being rational? These and many other moral problems lurk in the background of the criminal law, and the pieces in this book bring them into the foreground. Theoretical writings on the criminal law have often been dominated by a preoccupation with the justification of criminal punishment. This work is different. Although it discusses the legitimacy of criminal punishment it proceeds on the footing that the criminal law does many important things apart from punishing people. In particular, Gardner argues that the criminal law provides an important forum for people to explain themselves. Such a forum would be important, argues Gardner, even if criminal punishment were to be abolished.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199239351
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 495 g
Dimensions: 225 x 145 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is a marvellous collection. * Matt Matravers, Criminal Law and Philosophy *
This collection, of eleven of John Gardner's papers in philosophy of criminal law from the last fifteen years, makes clear how distinctive and incisive his contributions have been to our understanding of the structure and proper aims of criminal law, of how criminal offences should be analysed and defined, and of the character and significance of responsibility. It also shows how much criminal law theory depends on, and is enriched by, a serious engagement with deeper issues in moral and political philosophy (which is one reason why the collection should interest moral and political philosophers even if they are not directly interested in criminal law). The collection is made yet more valuable by the addition of a substantial 'Reply to Critics'. * Antony Duff, Professor of Philosophy, University of Stirling *
These essays touch upon virtually all of the most important and basic topics in the philosophy of criminal law: the nature of moral and penal responsibility; the contrast between offences and defences; the importance of distinctions between various kinds of defences; the justification of punishment; the nature of complicity; and the like. Every serious philosopher of law has already been challenged and stimulated by Gardner's exceedingly insightful work, and the availability of this impressive set of essays in a single volume can only add to his growing stature and influence... Criminal theory has taken a giant step forward with the publication of Offences and Defences. This magnificent collection demonstrates what can happen when an outstanding philosopher turns his attention to the criminal law. * Douglas Husak, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 29, No.1 *
Without exception, each essay is finely written and distinctive in content. * Robert Sullivan, Law Quarterly Review, 2009 *
The essays in this book invariably challenge and reward the reader each time she returns to them. This is an important volume that collects together what no doubt will be enduring pieces in the philosophy of criminal law. * Kimberley Brownlee, Ethics, 2009 *
A remarkable rich, coherent, and thought-provoking set of arguments that will no doubt join Hart's among the classic starting-points for philosophical inquiry about the criminal law...the future of criminal law theory is only brighter for the fact that John Gardner's through-provoking compilation came so early in his career, and that he seems committed to continue to build on this impressive effort. * Francois Tanguay-Renaud, Res Publica, (15), 2009 *
Each essay is written superbly written. Reading them is the opposite of the everyday academic experience. Instead of a struggle to finish, succeeded mercifully by instant amnesia, they can be read quickly-yet one mulls the details for days...The essays are packed with valuable insights and boast an impressive range of reference * A.P. Simester, University of Cambridge, The Modern Law Review *
...a remarkably rich, coherent, and thought-provoking set of arguments that will no doubt join Hart's among the classic starting-points for philosophical inquiry about the criminal law * Francois Tanguay-Renaud, York University, Toronto, Canada, Res Publica *
....essential reading for any theorist of the criminal law * Mark Thornton, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence *

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