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21 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 341 (1986)
Harm to Others; Offense to Others

handle is hein.journals/hcrcl21 and id is 355 raw text is: RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Harm to Others. By Joel Feinberg. New York: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1984. Pp. 269. $29.95 cloth.
Offense to Others. By Joel Feinberg. New York: Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1985. Pp. 328. $29.95 cloth.
Harm to Others and Offense to Others' are the first two
volumes of Joel Feinberg's The Moral Limits of Criminal Law,
an ambitious project designed to develop philosophical argu-
ments in support of a liberal orientation for criminal statutes.
Feinberg begins by identifying a variety of possible justifications
for criminal statutes. He then proceeds by attempting to develop
a two-tier defense for a liberal philosophy of criminal law.
In the first volume, Harm to Others, Feinberg explores
what he calls the harm principle, a principle which holds that
criminal sanctions are justifiably imposed on a person only to
prevent harm to others. It is this principle which Feinberg con-
siders to be the true core of moral justifications for criminal
sanctions.
Feinberg notes that the extreme liberal might rely solely
on the harm principle as a basis for criminalization (I, p. 15).
Yet he also recognizes that a liberal might want to prohibit some
forms of conduct, not because it harms people, but because it
offends them. Here, offense refers to unreflective or emo-
tional reactions like irritation, disgust, or humiliation. This of-
fense principle forms the second tier of Feinberg's liberal po-
sition. It is used to justify actions like banning open lewdness
in public places or prohibiting loud amplifiers in quiet
neighborhoods .2
Beyond the harm and offense principles, Feinberg sees two
possible justifications for penal sanctions. A legal system can
I Page numbers referring to Harm to Others will be prefaced with I,
and references to Offense to Others will begin with II.
Z Compare Kovacs v. Cooper, 336 U.S. 77 (19.49)(upholding ban on loud-
speakers) with Saia v. New York, 334 U.S. 558 (1948)(striking down ban on
loudspeakers).

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