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Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity$
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Will Kymlicka, Claes Lernestedt, and Matt Matravers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676590.001.0001

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Between Denial and Recognition

Between Denial and Recognition

Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity

(p.67) 4 Between Denial and Recognition
Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity

Kimmo Nuotio

Oxford University Press

Philosophers such as Taylor, Habermas, and Rawls have developed theories of how the law in general can operate in a pluralistic society. However, these multicultural theories need to be adapted to the particular aims, demands, and restrictions of criminal law. Criminal law requires strong presuppositions of legal personhood; it treats people as responsible and rational agents. These presuppositions differ from those of many traditional communities, but are now irreversible. The legitimacy of modern law requires people to think of themselves as citizens bound together in a political project, and not as individuals who belong to pre-political cultural groups. Thus legal responsibility cannot be reduced to mere moral blameworthiness, and the state has a legitimate interest in sustaining the mutual recognition of people as citizens.

Keywords:   blameworthiness, criminal law, personhood, pluralism, recognition, responsibility

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