A Core of Agreement
George Washington University - Law School; Cultural Cognition Project
Dan M. Kahan
Yale University - Law School; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
David A. Hoffman
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law; Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School; University of Pennsylvania Law School
April 24, 2010
University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 77, p. 1655, 2010
In this short comment, we respond to papers by Robinson, Kurzban, and Jones (RKJ) and by Darley, who replied to our paper, Punishment Naturalism. We align ourselves wholeheartedly with Darley’s argument that intuitions of criminal wrongdoing, while mediated by cognitive mechanisms that are largely universal, consist in evaluations that vary significantly across cultural groups. RKJ defend their finding of “universal” intuitions of “core” of criminal wrongdoing. They acknowledge, however, that their method for identifying the core excludes by design factors that predictably generate cultural variance in what behavior counts as murder, rape, theft and other “core” offenses. On this basis, we reiterate our claim that RKJ’s finding of such a “core” - while of considerable academic interest - does not have any normative or prescriptive upshot for debates about issues at the core of political contention and law-reform efforts in criminal justice - including important ones over the definitions of rape, homicide, domestic violence, and fraud.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Date posted: April 25, 2010 ; Last revised: April 16, 2013
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