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Two Objections to Yaffe on the Criminalization of Attempts

Criminal Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming

30 Pages Posted: 8 May 2013  

Alex F. Sarch

University of Surrey School of Law

Date Written: May 7, 2013

Abstract

In his recent book Attempts, Gideon Yaffe suggests that attempts should be criminalized because of a principle he dubs the "Transfer Principle." This principle holds that if a particular form of conduct is legitimately criminalized, then the attempt to engage in that form of conduct is also legitimately criminalized. Although Yaffe provides a powerful defense of the Transfer Principle, in this paper I argue that Yaffe’s argument for it ultimately does not succeed. In particular, I formulate two objections to Yaffe’s argument for the Transfer Principle. First, I argue that a basic assumption about criminalization, on which Yaffe’s argument crucially depends, is incomplete, and Yaffe’s own attempt to supplement it undermines his argument for the Transfer Principle. Second, I argue that Yaffe’s argument does not properly account for the fact that those who merely attempt a crime and those who complete it might sometimes be responding to reasons in different ways. Accordingly, I conclude that Yaffe has not succeeded in establishing the truth of the Transfer Principle.

Suggested Citation

Sarch, Alex F., Two Objections to Yaffe on the Criminalization of Attempts (May 7, 2013). Criminal Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2261988 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2261988

Alex F. Sarch (Contact Author)

University of Surrey School of Law ( email )

United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/law/people/alexander_sarch/

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