On Crimes and Punishments

5th Edition

Cesare Beccaria

Routledge
Published November 30, 2016
Reference - 222 Pages
ISBN 9781412864022 - CAT# Y360647

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Summary

Cesare Beccaria's influential treatise On Crimes and Punishments is considered a foundational work in the field of criminology. Three major themes of the Enlightenment run through the treatise: the idea that the social contract forms the moral and political basis of the work's reformist zeal; the idea that science supports a dispassionate and reasoned appeal for reforms; and the belief that progress is inextricably bound to science. All three provide the foundation for accepting Beccaria's proposals.

It is virtually impossible to ascertain which of several versions of the treatise that appeared during his lifetime best reflected Beccaria's thoughts. His use of many Enlightenment ideas also makes it difficult to interpret what he has written. While Enlightenment thinkers advocated free men and free minds, there was considerable disagreement as to how this might be achieved, except in the most general terms.

The editors have based this translation on the 1984 Francioni text, the most exhaustive critical Italian edition of Dei delitti e delle pene. This edition is the last that Beccaria personally oversaw and revised. This translation includes an outstanding opening essay by the editors and is a welcome introduction to Beccaria and the beginnings of criminology.

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