2409 - Punishment and Moral Responsibility: The Philosophy of H.L.A. Hart
In many countries (including the United States) it is possible both to punish an offender and then, once he has completed his punishment, to continue to hold him indefinitely if he remains dangerous. What gives the state the right to do that? The fact that a person has committed a crime may entail that he deserves to be punished, but that very fact may limit state punishment as much as it authorizes it. If the prison sentence punishes him as much as he deserves, where does the authority come from to go beyond what he deserves and hold him indefinitely? This puzzle has preoccupied criminal justice theorists since the late nineteenth century, and no one has thought more carefully about it than Herbert Hart. In this course we will read and discuss Hart's book Punishment and Responsibility. Class periods will be divided between short lectures and discussion of the readings. Lecture (plus Questions) Facilitated Discussion
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