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Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 91–108 | Cite as

Of Normal Human Sympathies and Clear Consciences: Comments on Hyman Gross’s Crime and Punishment: A Concise Moral Critique

  • Leo ZaibertEmail author
Original Paper
  • 219 Downloads

Abstract

Contemporary criminal justice systems are extraordinarily unfair. Focusing on Hyman Gross’s Crimes and Punishment: A Concise Moral Critique, however, I identify ways in which scholarly criticisms of these criminal justice systems tend to miss their target. In particular, I argue against the assumption that in order to criticize these criminal justice systems we need to cast doubt on the very practice of blaming people and on the notion of desert, or that we need to reject wholesale retributive rationales for punishment. Quite the contrary: an important reason why contemporary criminal justice systems are unfair is that they punish many people undeservedly.

Keywords

Punishment Abolition Culpability Blame Criminalization Sympathy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Union CollegeSchenectadyUSA

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