A Core of Agreement

6 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2010 Last revised: 16 Apr 2013

Donald Braman

George Washington University - Law School; Cultural Cognition Project

Dan M. Kahan

Yale University - Law School

David A. Hoffman

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School

Date Written: April 24, 2010

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Braman, Donald and Kahan, Dan M. and Hoffman, David A., A Core of Agreement (April 24, 2010). University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 77, p. 1655, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1595363

Donald Braman

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Cultural Cognition Project ( email )

2000 H St NW
2000 H Street
Washington, DC 20052 20052
United States
202-491-8843 (Phone)
202 491-8843 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.culturalcognition.net/braman

Dan M. Kahan (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.culturalcognition.net/kahan

David A. Hoffman

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Samson Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School

127 Wall St
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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