You Got What You Deserved


Larry Alexander

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The Philosophy of Criminal Law collects 17 of Doug Husak’s articles on legal theory, 16 of which have been previously published, spanning a period of over two decades. In sum, these 17 articles make a huge and lasting contribution to criminal law theory. There is much wisdom contained in them; and I find surprisingly little to disagree with, making my job as a critical reviewer quite challenging. Most of the points on which Doug and I disagree can be found in my other published work in this field, so I will have little to say about them, except where they illuminate those few points of disagreement that arise in the particular essays I discuss. Most of what I will say will be in accord with Doug’s views and will principally explore their wider implications.

The 17 essays in the book cover too many and too varied topics for one review essay. Therefore, I will focus on just three of them: “Rapes Without Rapists: Consent and Reasonable Mistake” (co-authored by George C. Thomas); “Mistakes of Law and Culpability”; and “‘Already Punished Enough.’” Although I generally agree with the upshots of Doug’s arguments in these chapters, I think the issues they raise are worth further exploration.