Punishment and Responsibility: Essays in the Philosophy of Law / Edition 2

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This classic collection of essays, first published in 1968, has had an enduring impact on academic and public debates about criminal responsibility and criminal punishment. Forty years on, its arguments are as powerful as ever. H.L.A. Hart offers an alternative to retributive thinking about criminal punishment that nevertheless preserves the central distinction between guilt and innocence. He also provides an account of criminal responsibility that links the distinction between guilt and innocence closely to the ideal of the rule of law, and thereby attempts to by-pass unnerving debates about free will and determinism. Always engaged with live issues of law and public policy, Hart makes difficult philosophical puzzles accessible and immediate to a wide range of readers.

For this new edition, otherwise a reproduction of the original, John Gardner adds an introduction engaging critically with Hart's arguments, and explaining the continuing importance of Hart's ideas in spite of the intervening revival of retributive thinking in both academic and policy circles.

Unavailable for ten years, the new edition of Punishment and Responsibility makes available again the central text in the field for a new generation of academics, students and professionals engaged in criminal justice and penal policy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Punishment and Responsibility is still regarded as one of the cornerstones of both penal philosophy and the burgeoning field of criminal law theory in Britain, Australia, Israel and North America. Its idea of criminal responsibility ... is the inspiration for or counterpoint to almost all serious scholarship in English in the field published over the last 35 years."
—Nicola Lacey, A Life of H.L.A. Hart (OUP, 2004)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199534784
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/16/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 315
  • Sales rank: 1,263,275
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

The Late H.L.A. Hart was Professor of Jurisprudence in the University of Oxford from 1952 to 1968. Subsequently he became Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. His other major works include Causation in the Law (with Tony Honoré, OUP 1959), The Concept of Law (OUP 1961) and Law, Liberty and Morality (OUP 1963).
John Gardner has been Professor of Jurisprudence in the University of Oxford since 2000. He is a former Fellow of All Souls and Brasenose Colleges in Oxford, and has also taught at King's College London, Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, and the University of Texas. His book Offences and Defences is forthcoming from OUP.

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Table of Contents

Introduction John Gardner Gardner, John

I Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment 1

II Legal Responsibility and Excuses 28

III Murder and the Principles of Punishment: England and the United States 54

IV Acts of Will and Responsibility 90

V Intention and Punishment 113

VI Negligence, Mens Rea, and Criminal Responsibility 136

VII Punishment and the Elimination of Responsibility 158

VIII Changing Conceptions of Responsibility 186

IX Postscript: Responsibility and Retribution 210

Notes 238

Appendix 268

Index 275

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