Theories of Criminal Responsibility Seminar
J.D. Seminar 527
| 3 credit hours
The criminal law is a method of social control that relies on punishment as its primary mechanism of enforcement, and punishment, by definition, involves the intentional infliction of pain. Surely, then, the criminal law and its harsh method of enforcement would seem to require some sort of justifying purpose or purposes, and also some plausible theory of personal responsibility for determining who can justly be blamed and punished and who cannot.
In this seminar we will be discussing and evaluating the various purposes that can plausibly be advanced to justify the institution of punishment generally and also various theories of responsibility and blame that determine whether punishment can justly be imposed in a particular case. Though the seminar will focus on responsibility in the context of criminal liability, we will be discussing topics, such as free will and determinism, that have relevance far beyond the criminal law. And though we will take up some issues that are touched on in the basic criminal law course, the focus here will be theoretical and philosophical rather than doctrinal. Thus, the seminar will, I hope, be worthwhile and interesting both for those who have already taken a criminal law course as well as those who have not. There are no prerequisites for the course.
||Room / Days / From-To
(CRN #: 22271)
||Wasserstrom, Silas J.