Concordance & Conflict in Intuitions of Justice

80 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2006

See all articles by Paul H. Robinson

Paul H. Robinson

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Robert Kurzban

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology

Abstract

The common wisdom among criminal law theorists and policy makers is that the notion of desert is vague and the subject to wide disagreement. Yet the empirical evidence in available studies, including new studies reported here, paints a dramatically different picture. While moral philosophers may disagree on some aspects of moral blameworthiness, people's intuitions of justice are commonly specific, nuanced, and widely shared. Indeed, with regard to the core harms and evils to which criminal law addresses itself - physical aggression, takings without consent, and deception in transactions - people's shared intuitions cut across demographics and cultures. The findings raise interesting questions - such as, what could explain this striking result? - and hint at intriguing implications for criminal law and criminal justice policy.

Keywords: desert, blame, empirical studies, moral philosophy, intuitions, psychology, criminal justice policy, criminal law

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Paul H. and Kurzban, Robert, Concordance & Conflict in Intuitions of Justice. University of Pennsylvania Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 06-38, Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 91, No. 6, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=932067

Paul H. Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Robert Kurzban

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology ( email )

3720 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6196
United States

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