•  11
    Retributivism and Over-Punishment
    Law and Philosophy 1-23. forthcoming.
    Lately it has become a commonplace to complain about the injustice of mass incarceration. I share the sentiment that this phenomenon has been an injustice. But it also has become orthodoxy to allege that the acceptance of a retributive penal philosophy has been one of the chief factors that has brought about mass incarceration in the first place. As a self-proclaimed retributivist, I find these allegations to be troubling and unwarranted. The point of this paper is to take steps to rebut them. I…Read more
  •  9
    The Objective(s) of Responsible Brains
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 1-15. forthcoming.
  •  4
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 15 (3): 337-338. 2021.
  •  8
    Legal paternalism
    In LaFollette H. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 387--388. 2003.
  •  9
    Proportionality in Personal Life
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 15 (3): 339-360. 2021.
    Efforts to apply the principle of proportionality to criminal sentences are notoriously problematic. But even though they are daunting, only a few legal philosophers believe we should give up trying to do so. Perhaps we can make progress overcoming some of the many legal difficulties by attending to how the principle is applied in non-legal contexts—that is, in contexts I call personal life. Proportionality, I believe, is an attractive principle in penal sentencing because it is an attractive pr…Read more
  •  9
    Reflections on Crime and Culpability seeks to elaborate, extend, and occasionally qualify the insights reached by Larry Alexander and Kim Ferzan in their influential prior collaboration, Crime and Culpability. They deftly explore any number of new issue that all criminal theorists should be encouraged to address. In my essay, I discuss and challenge their positions on omissions as well as on moral ignorance. Their treatment of the latter issue is a clear improvement over that in their earlier bo…Read more
  •  8
    Ignorance of Law: How to Conceptualize and Maybe Resolve the Issue
    In Larry Alexander & Kimberly Kessler Ferzan (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Applied Ethics and the Criminal Law, Springer Verlag. pp. 315-333. 2019.
    Under what circumstances should ignorance that someone is violating a moral or criminal rule preclude or lessen his moral responsibility and/or penal liability? In this chapter, I first construct a schema or framework for how to think about this issue. Quite a bit of confusion and uncertainty, I am sure, derives from a failure to understand exactly what this question is asking. I next defend some substantive views about how this question should be answered. If my defense is cogent, I conclude th…Read more
  •  10
    Criminal Law at the Margins
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 14 (3): 381-393. 2020.
    I describe how our understanding of some of the central principles long held dear by most criminal theorists may have to be interpreted in light of the need to devise lenient responses for low-level offenders. Several of the most plausible suggestions for how to deal with minor infractions force us to take seriously some ideas that many legal philosophers have tended to resist elsewhere. I briefly touch upon four topics: whether informal can substitute for or count against the appropriate state …Read more
  •  27
    Wrongs, Crimes, and Criminalization
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (3): 393-407. 2019.
    I will focus on Tadros’s general views about criminalization and how he contends philosophers should not think about it. Misguided approaches, according to Tadros, include attempts to identify principles that constrain the scope of the criminal law, as well as efforts to establish that given considerations constitute reasons for or against the use of the penal sanction. In what follows, I begin with a few general remarks about the connections between Tadros’s treatment of criminal justice and th…Read more
  •  19
    Aspiration, Execution, and Controversy: Reply to My Critics
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (2): 351-362. 2018.
    I respond to Michael Zimmerman and Gideon Yaffe, both of whom have written thoughtful and constructive criticisms of my “Ignorance of Law”. Zimmerman believes I do not go far enough in exculpating morally ignorant wrongdoers; he accuses me of lacking the courage of my convictions in allowing exceptions for reckless wrongdoers and for willfully ignorant wrongdoers. Yaffe, by contrast, thinks I rely on a defective foundation of moral blameworthiness. He proposes an alternative account he alleges t…Read more
  •  15
  •  2
    Conflicts of Justifications
    Law and Philosophy 18 (1): 41-68. 1999.
  •  1
    Relativistic Justifications
    Law and Philosophy 19 (5): 641-644. 2000.
  •  3
    Drugs and Rights
    Ethics 104 (3): 645-648. 1994.
  •  5
    Philosophy of Criminal Law
    Ethics 99 (4): 953-954. 1989.
  •  2
    "Rights, Goods, and Democracy" by Ramon M. Lemos (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (3): 541. 1989.
  • Paternalistic Legislation
    Dissertation, The Ohio State University. 1976.
  •  47
    Killing, letting die and euthanasia
    Journal of Medical Ethics 5 (4): 200-202. 1979.
    Medical ethicists debate whether or not the moral assessment of cases of euthanasia should depend on whether the patient is 'killed' or 'allowed to die'. The usual presupposition is that a clear distinction between killing and letting die can be drawn so that this substantive question is not begged. I contend that the categorisation of cases of instances of killing rather than as instances of letting die depends in part on a prior moral assessment of the case. Hence is it trivially rather than s…Read more
  •  123
    Negligence, Belief, Blame and Criminal Liability: The Special Case of Forgetting
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (2): 199-218. 2011.
    Commentators seemingly agree about what negligence is—and how it is contrasted from recklessness. They also appear to concur about whether particular examples (both real and hypothetical) portray negligence. I am less confident about each of these matters. I explore the distinction between recklessness and negligence by examining a type of case that has generated a good deal of critical discussion: those in which a defendant forgets that he has created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of har…Read more
  •  77
    The Philosophy of Criminal Law: Selected Essays
    Oxford University Press. 2010.
    Does criminal liability require an act? -- Motive and criminal liability -- The costs to criminal theory of supposing that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility -- Transferred intent -- The nature and justifiability of nonconsummate offenses -- Strict liability, justice, and proportionality -- The sequential principle of relative culpability -- Willful ignorance, knowledge, and the equal culpability thesis : a study of the significance of the principle of legality -- Rapes without rapists …Read more
  •  15
    George P. Fletcher, Basic Concepts of Criminal Law New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, xi + 223 pp
  •  29
    Ignorance of Law: A Philosophical Inquiry
    Oxford University Press USA. 2016.
    This book argues that ignorance of law should usually be a complete excuse from criminal liability. It defends this conclusion by invoking two presumptions: first, the content of criminal law should conform to morality; second, mistakes of fact and mistakes of law should be treated symmetrically.
  •  6
    Require an Act?
    In Antony Duff (ed.), Philosophy and the Criminal Law: Principle and Critique, Cambridge University Press. pp. 60. 1998.