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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Criminology

1998

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Objectivist Vs. Subjectivist Views Of Criminality: A Study In The Role Of Social Science In Criminal Law Theory, Paul H. Robinson, John M. Darley Jan 1998

Objectivist Vs. Subjectivist Views Of Criminality: A Study In The Role Of Social Science In Criminal Law Theory, Paul H. Robinson, John M. Darley

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The authors use social science methodology to determine whether a doctrinal shift-from an objectivist view of criminality in the common law to a subjectivist view in modern criminal codes-is consistent with lay intuitions of the principles of justice. Commentators have suggested that lay perceptions of criminality have shifted in a way reflected in the doctrinal change, but the study results suggest a more nuanced conclusion: that the modern lay view agrees with the subjectivist view of modern codes in defining the minimum requirements of criminality, but prefers the common law's objectivist view of grading the punishment deserved. The authors ...