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State Denunciation of Crime

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Chapter Summary

The author concerns communicative theories of punishment that have been defended by Andrew von Hirsch and Antony Duff. On such theories, punishment is justified at least in part as the authoritative censure or condemnation of crime. He looks at a different problem, which arises simply from the notion of authoritative condemnation itself. He asks a question to what extent the communicative theory is committed to a type of legal moralism that liberals ought to regard with suspicion. Jeffrie Murphy has raised the problem in a discussion of Joel Feinberg's view that punishment has an expressive, stigmatizing function. He argues that there is a tension, on one hand, between, Feinberg's liberalism and attachment to the Millian Harm Principle and, on the other, his support for a punitive institution that acts coercively against citizens on the grounds of moral failure.

Keywords: communicative theory; crime; Joel Feinberg's liberalism; legal moralism; punishment

10.1163/9789004262935_013
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