Towards a Modest Legal Moralism: Professor Antony Duff

16 July 2012

About the seminar:

The Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence and Sydney Institute of Criminology present the JSI seminar 'Towards a Modest Legal Moralism' by Professor Antony Duff.

After distinguishing between different species of Legal Moralism (positive vs. negative; modest vs. ambitious), Professor Duff will outline and defend a modest, positive Legal Moralism, according to which we have good reason to criminalize some type of conduct if (and only if) it constitutes a public wrong. Some of the central elements of the argument will be:

  • The need to look at the different processes of criminalization (of which legislation is only one), and to ask what kinds of consideration can properly figure in those processes.

  • The need to attend to the relationship, and the essential differences, between criminal law and other modes of legal regulation. What marks out criminal law is its focus on wrongs: it identifies a set of public wrongs, and provides for those accused of committing such wrongs to be called to formal public account.

Professor Duff will sketch some of the different routes by which we might be led to think of criminalizing a type of conduct, and the ways in which the conduct's wrongfulness figures on those routes.

About Professor Duff:

Professor Antony Duff is a leading expert on the philosophy of punishment and is internationally recognized for his expertise in criminal law and its structure. He was appointed as a professor in the Law School at the University of Minnesota in 2010 and is also a professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Stirling. Professor Duff is widely acknowledged as having generated renewed interest in criminal law theory through his major works: Intention, Agency, and Criminal Liability: Philosophy of Action and the Criminal Law (Blackwell, 1990); Criminal Attempts (Oxford, 1996); and Answering for Crime: Responsibility and Liability in the Criminal Law (Hart 2007). Additional landmark books that have influenced thinking on punishment theory and philosophy include Trials and Punishments (Cambridge, 1986) and Punishment, Communication and Community (Oxford, 2001). He recently led a three-year interdisciplinary study of the criminal trial and with three colleagues produced The Trial on Trial, published by Hart in three volumes (Truth and Due Process, 2004; Judgment and Calling to Account, 2006; Towards a Normative Theory of the Criminal Trial, 2007). Professor Duff is founding co-editor of Criminal Law and Philosophy and serves on the editorial boards of Legal Theory and Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. Professor Duff was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1996 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2004. He received an honorary D.Jur. from the University of Oslo in 2008.

Time: 1-2pm

Location: Faculty Common Room, level 4, Sydney Law School, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, University

Cost: FREE

Contact: Dr Arlie Loughnan

Phone: (02) 9351 0246

Email: 4e3d595c3c763b1f381751233845181b1c355f570a16364b02582217