•  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
  •  1
    Relativistic Justifications
    Law and Philosophy 19 (5): 641-644. 2000.
  •  15
  •  2
    Conflicts of Justifications
    Law and Philosophy 18 (1): 41-68. 1999.
  •  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
  •  54
    Rapes Without Rapists: Consent and Reasonable Mistake
    with George C. Thomas
    Noûs 35 (s1): 86-117. 2001.
  •  5
    Drugs and Rights
    Cambridge University Press. 1992.
    This important book was the first serious work of philosophy to address the question: Do adults have a moral right to use drugs for recreational purposes? Many critics of the 'war on drugs' denounce law enforcement as counterproductive and ineffective. Douglas Husak argues that the 'war on drugs' violates the moral rights of adults who want to use drugs for pleasure, and that criminal laws against such use are incompatible with moral rights. This is not a polemical tract but a scrupulously argue…Read more
  •  4
    Richard Henson, 1925-2007
    Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 81 (2). 2007.
  •  18
    Vehicles and Crashes: Why is this Moral Issue Overlooked?
    Social Theory and Practice 30 (3): 351-370. 2004.
  •  6
    Already Punished Enough
    Philosophical Topics 18 (1): 79-99. 1990.
  •  41
    Teaching Philosophy 8 (2): 163-165. 1985.
  •  91
    Mistake of Law and Culpability
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (2): 135-159. 2010.
    When does a defendant not deserve punishment because he is unaware that his conduct breaches a penal statute? Retributivists must radically rethink their answer to this question to do justice to our moral intuitions. I suggest that modest progress on this topic can be made by modeling our approach to ignorance of law on our familiar approach to ignorance of fact. We need to distinguish different levels of culpability in given mistakes and to differentiate what such mistakes may be about. I discu…Read more