The Practical, the Political and the Ethical seminar series

The Practical, the Political and the Ethical seminar series
7 March 2017, 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU


Antony Duff (Stirling)

Criminal Law and Civil Order

The question that I want in the end to answer is this: What role should criminal law play in a democratic republic? The answer that I will explore in this paper is: Criminal law should help to sustain the polity's civil order.To explain this answer, I will need to discuss the distinctive character of criminal law, as a particular kind of legal institution; the idea of civil order, as constituted by the institutional and social structures of the polity's civic life; and the way in which criminal law can help to constitute the civil order that it also sustains. I will then say something about the implications of this kind of account for the question of criminalization: whilst it will not generate the kinds of 'principle of criminalization' that theorists often seek, it will help us to see what kinds of question we must ask, and answer, in trying to decide what kinds of conduct we ought to criminalize, and to see how to go about answering those questions.

The Institute of Philosophy hosts regular seminars on the Practical, the political, the ethical aspects of philosophy. The forum generally meets fortnightly in term time.


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