Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishments and other writings
Edited with a preface by Aaron Thomas
Translated by Aaron Thomas and Jeremy Parzen
Foreword by Bryan Stevenson
Introduction by Alberto Burgio
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008
Cloth ISBN 9781442620063
Paper ISBN 9781442610422
Published in 1764, On Crimes and Punishments by Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794) courted both success and controversy in Europe and North America. Enlightenment luminaries and enlightened monarchs alike lauded the text and looked to it for ideas that might help guide the various reform projects of the day. The equality of every citizen before the law, the right to a fair trial, the abolition of the death penalty, the elimination of the use of torture in criminal interrogations—these are but a few of the vital arguments articulated by Beccaria.
This volume offers a new English translation of On Crimes and Punishments alongside writings by a number of Beccaria’s contemporaries. Of particular interest is Voltaire’s commentary on the text, which is included in its entirety. The supplementary materials testify not only to the power and significance of Beccaria’s ideas, but to the controversial reception of his book. At the same time that philosophes proclaimed that it contained principles of enduring importance to any society grappling with matters of political and criminal justice, allies of the ancien régime roundly denounced it, fearing that the book’s attack on feudal privileges and its call to separate law from religion (and thus crime from sin) would undermine their longstanding privileges and powers.
Long appreciated as a foundational text in criminology, Beccaria’s arguments have become central in debates over capital punishment. This new edition presents Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments as an important and influential work of Enlightenment political theory.
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Norberto Bobbio, In the Labyrinth of Politics: Essays on Democracy, Human Rights, and the Law
Edited and translated by Aaron Thomas
Foreword by Carole Pateman
Introduction by Aaron Thomas
Afterwords by Roberto Panizza and Luigi Bonanate
Toronto: University of Toronto Press (volume in preparation)
Norberto Bobbio (1909–2004) was a leading philosopher and public intellectual in twentieth-century Italy. He made important contributions to the study of law, politics, and intellectual history. A participant in the anti-fascist Resistance, he later became a regular editorialist for Turin’s daily newspaper La Stampa. His merits as a scholar and public figure were officially recognized in 1984 with a lifetime appointment to the Italian Senate.
This anthology introduces readers to the range and depth of Norberto Bobbio’s contributions to political and legal theory. It collects approximately twenty-five essays that span his entire career, from his early work in the 1930s to his final publications in the 1990s. Mindful of Bobbio’s contention that law and power constitute “two sides of the same coin,” this volume offers readers a variety of ways of examining this relationship.
Part I of the volume opens with Bobbio’s attempt to understand the contours of the political sphere and the individual’s relationship to the state and politics. Part II explores the relationships between law, power, legitimacy, and justice through a series of Bobbio’s essays in legal philosophy. Part III considers the larger social and cultural context of politics by examining questions of civil society, pluralism, and social change, including the longstanding debates between reform and revolution. Part IV considers the mode of social change favored by Bobbio – democracy – by inquiring into the historical and theoretical meanings of this term, the “rules of the game” that constitute democracy, and the norms that inform it. Part V addresses questions concerning the philosophy and politics of human rights, cosmopolitanism, and the relationship between states.