This collection of essays represents H.L.A. Hart's landmark contribution to the philosophy of criminal responsibility and punishment. This edition reproduces the original text, adding a new critical introduction by John Gardner, a leading contemporary criminal law theorist
This classic collection of essays, first published in 1968, has had an enduring impact on academic and public debates about criminal responsibility and criminal punishment. Forty years on, its arguments are as powerful as ever. H.L.A. Hart offers an alternative to retributive thinking about criminal punishment that nevertheless preserves the central distinction between guilt and innocence. He also provides an account of criminal responsibility that links the
distinction between guilt and innocence closely to the ideal of the rule of law, and thereby attempts to by-pass unnerving debates about free will and determinism. Always engaged with live issues of law and public policy, Hart makes difficult philosophical puzzles accessible and immediate to a wide range of
For this new edition, otherwise a reproduction of the original, John Gardner adds an introduction engaging critically with Hart's arguments, and explaining the continuing importance of Hart's ideas in spite of the intervening revival of retributive thinking in both academic and policy circles.
Unavailable for ten years, the new edition of Punishment and Responsibility makes available again the central text in the field for a new generation of academics, students and professionals engaged in criminal justice and penal policy.
Review from previous edition Punishment and Responsibility is still regarded as one of the cornerstones of both penal philosophy and the burgeoning field of criminal law theory in Britain, Australia, Israel and North America. Its idea of criminal responsibility ... is the inspiration for or counterpoint to almost all serious scholarship in English in the field published over the last 35 years.
Nicola Lacey, A Life of H.L.A. Hart (OUP, 2004)