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Is a unified theory of sexual offenses conceivable? About Criminalizing Sex: A Unified Liberal Theory

Abstract : In his latest book, Criminalizing Sex (2020), Stuart P. Green, professor of philosophy of law at Rutgers, develops a unified liberal theory of the criminalization of sexual offenses. The exercise he undertakes is not an easy. Nevertheless, through the use of accessible language, rigorous reasoning and sometimes amusing examples, Green succeeds in offering both a state of the art of knowledge on the subject and in elaborating a legal system that allows for the advancement of thinking in the area of sexual offenses according to the liberal ethics of harms and wrongs. The author starts from the observation that in recent years, criminal legislation on sexual offenses has undergone profound transformations: it has generally become more repressive with regard to non-consensual relationships (rape, sexual assault, etc.) but also more flexible with regard to mutually consensual relationships (homosexuality, adultery, etc.). This apparent double movement invites him to explore conceptual and normative implications of these divergent tendencies, starting from the premise that an ideal liberal criminal justice system should only punish situations where a perpetrator would impose a non-consensual sexual relationship on another. Such a vision of law, which emphasizes individual autonomy while preventing harm to others, follows in the footsteps of those promoted by John Stuart Mill (On Liberty), Herbert L.A. Hart (The Morality of the Criminal Law), and Joel Feinberg (The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law, 4 vols.).
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Contributor : Regis Schlagdenhauffen <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 8:54:33 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 4:49:49 PM


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Régis Schlagdenhauffen. Is a unified theory of sexual offenses conceivable? About Criminalizing Sex: A Unified Liberal Theory. 2021. ⟨halshs-03172828⟩



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