Friday, September 9, 2011
This article identifies and explains four conceptions of cruelty in criminal law and reconstructs the models of practical reason they inhabit. It advances conceptual, historical, and normative arguments. Conceptually, it articulates distinct notions of cruelty according to the types of agency, victimhood, values, and causality they employ. Historically, it argues that these conceptions belong with three models of practical reason which the article reconstructs in their evolution. Normatively, it argues that the rejection of cruelty is one of the fundamental achievements of practical reason in criminal law. More generally, the article indicates how the operation of reflectivity in the context of ideas about cruelty serves as a model of legal reasoning to be emulated.