Advertisement

No Offense! On the Offense Principle and Some New Challenges

  • Thomas Søbirk Petersen
Chapter
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 134)

Abstract

In this chapter, I will critically discuss offense principles of criminalization whose adherents argue that it is always a good reason in support of a proposed criminal prohibition that it would probably be an effective way of preventing serious offense (as opposed to injury or harm) to persons other than the actor. The position I defend in this chapter is that the conduct referred to by the offence principle, depending on one’s theory of individual well-being, can easily be interpreted as a subset of the conduct referred to by another principle of criminalization—namely, the standard formulation of the harm principle given by Mill and Hart. This finding is contrary to both the formulation of the offense principle itself and the belief, held by prominent advocates of the principle, that the two principles are distinct principles of criminalization. Furthermore, I argue that the definition of harm, deployed by leading proponents of the offense principle such as Feinberg, A. P. Simester and Andreas von Hirsch, as a ‘setback to interests’ is both difficult to apply to the distinction between harming and causing offence and in itself inadequately supported.

References

  1. Bradley B (2009) Well-being and death. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradley B (2012) Doing away with harm. Philos Phenomenol Res 85(2):390–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Duff A (2014) Towards a modest legal moralism. Crim Law Philos 8(1):217–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Feinberg J (1984) Harm to others. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Feinberg J (1985) Offense to others. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Feinberg J (1986) Harm to Self. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Feldman F (2004) Pleasure and the good life. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Feldman F (2010) What is this thing called happiness? Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Griffin J (1986) Well-being: its meaning, measurement and moral importance. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  10. Husak D (2006) Disgust: metaphysical and empirical speculations. In: von Hirsch A, Simester AP (eds) Incivilities: regulating offensive behaviour. Hart Publishing, London, pp 91–113Google Scholar
  11. Kagan S (1998) Normative ethics. Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  12. Lippert-Rasmusssen K (2005) Deontology, responsibility, and equality. Museum Tusculanum Press, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  13. McKinnon C (2006) Toleration: a critical introduction. Routledge, AbingdonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mill JS (2003/1859) On liberty. In: Warnock M (ed) Utilitarianism and on liberty. Blackwell Publishing, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  15. Moore A (2000) Objective human goods. In: Hooker B, Crisp R (eds) Well-being and morality: essays in honour of James Griffin. Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp 75–89Google Scholar
  16. Norcross A (2005) Harming in context. Philos Stud 123(1):149–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Parfit D (1984) Reasons and persons. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  18. Raz J (1986) The morality of freedom. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Roberts P (2006) Penal offence in question: some reference points for interdisciplinary conversation. In: von Hirsch A, Simester AP (eds) Incivilities: regulating offensive behaviour. Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp 1–56Google Scholar
  20. Sen A (1999) On ethics and economics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Simester AP, von Hirsch A (2002) Rethinking the offense principle. Legal Theory 8(3):269–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Simester AP, von Hirsch A (2006) Regulating offensive conduct through two-step prohibitions. In: Hirsch A, Simester AP (eds) Incivilities: regulating offensive behaviour. Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp 173–194Google Scholar
  23. Simester AP, von Hirsch A (2011) Crimes, harms and wrongs: on the principles of criminalisation. Hart Publishing, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  24. Sumner LW (1996) Welfare, happiness and ethics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  25. Tadros V (2011) The ends of harm: the moral foundations of criminal law. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tasioulas J (2006) Crimes of offense. In: von Hirsch A, Simester AP (eds) Incivilities: regulating offensive behaviour. Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp 149–171Google Scholar
  27. Thomson JJ (1986) Feinberg on harm, offense, and the criminal law. Philos Public Aff 15(4):381–395Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Søbirk Petersen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of RoskildeRoskildeDenmark

Personalised recommendations