The Limits of Legal Ideology

  • Alan W. Norrie
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 12)


In this book, I have sought to understand the liberal theory of punishment in a way that is radically different from other approaches to the subject. First, I have attempted to show that the modern development of the philosophy of punishment should be understood as a contradictory rather than rational phenomenon. The standard philosophical method of intellectual synthesis and resolution of conflict is inadequate to a theoretical discourse whose premises are fundamentally in opposition with each other. There is a tension between the social phenomena of criminality and punishment on the one hand and their representation within the philosophy of punishment on the other that ensures that any attempt to rationalise that philosophy will end up as rationalisation, that is, as an attempt to resolve the irresoluble, to paper over the intellectual cracks.


Criminal Justice Liberal Theory Legal Form Capitalist Society Criminal Punishment 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan W. Norrie
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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