Department of Philosophy

Vincent Chiao guest lecture

Highfield House A09
Friday 27th April 2018 (15:00-17:00)
Zachary Hoskins

The University of Nottingham’s Department of Philosophy, Criminal Justice Research Centre, and Centre for Normative Political Theory present:

Vincent Chiao
Associate Professor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Criminal Law in the Age of the Administrative State
3-5 pm, Friday 27 April 2018
Law and Social Sciences A2
Free and open to the public

What is the criminal law for? At its most elemental, it is for securing the possibility of cooperation under stable and just public institutions. Focusing on the cooperative basis of criminal law provides a fresh vantage point on the project of justifying the criminal law, one more suited to moral evaluation of the criminal law in the age of the administrative state. The criminal law should support just institutions, and it should do so in a way that is consistent with that very same conception of justice. The criminal law is a basic public institution, and should be evaluated by appeal to the same standards of justification that we usually demand of public institutions. Hence, in contrast to familiar forms of retributivism, the “public law” account I sketch here suggests that the morality of the criminal law rests on an understanding of the political morality of public institutions rather than the interpersonal morality of private relationships. Accordingly, I articulate a conception of criminal law appropriate to a society of equals, one that is loosely consequentialist, egalitarian without being equalizing and focused on a form of freedom — effective access to central capability — as its currency of evaluation. I show how an egalitarian conception of this kind provides a distinctive and illuminating framework for assessing a wide range of problems in criminal law and policy, including mass incarceration, criminalization and the allocation of procedural rights.

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us