Perspectives on Ethics: Arlie Loughnan

Perspectives on Ethics

Self, Others and the State: Relations of Criminal Responsibility

The paper aims to make the case for a fresh examination of the topic of criminal responsibility. An assessment of the criminal law literature reveals that criminal responsibility is regarded as significant in three main ways: (1) as the normative heart of the criminal law; (2) as serving the coordination and legitimation needs of the criminal law; and (3) as a platform for the development of the modern criminal law. These three accounts of the significance of criminal responsibility correspond to the work of a group of scholars, or, in the case of (2) and (3), single scholars – Nicola Lacey and Lindsay Farmer – who have developed sui generis analyses. This is not all there is to the significance of criminal responsibility, however. I suggest that criminal responsibility is significant because it encodes keys sets of relations – between self, others and the state – as relations of responsibility. My account of criminal responsibility as encoding relations of responsibility assists in identifying the significance of criminal responsibility outside the criminal law. As I discuss in this chapter, on my account, the significance of criminal responsibility arises from the dynamic inter-relation between criminal responsibility and social ideas about responsibility, according to which considerations of power, subjectivity and relationality make themselves felt in the criminal law in particular ways.

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Arlie Loughnan
University of Sydney

Thu, Nov 29, 2018
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin