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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Enforcing Morality through Criminal Law (Part One)

By John Danaher
Philosophical Disquisitions
Originally posted May 10, 2014

What kinds of conduct ought to be criminalised? According to a position known as legal moralism, the criminal law ought only to prohibit immoral/wrongful conduct. That is to say: a necessary condition for the criminalisation of any conduct is that the conduct be immoral.

Legal moralism does not state a sufficient condition for criminalisation. It just limits the possible scope of criminal law to the set of immoral conduct. Follow up questions must be asked of the moralist. Which members of that set are most apt for criminalisation? What kinds of factors speak against the criminalisation of immoral conduct? Only when those questions are will we be able to tell whether a particular type of conduct ought to be criminalised.

The entire blog post is here.
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