Martha Nussbaum’s concern is to limit the role that emotions can legitimately play in the definition of the criminal law. She would allow nuisance laws to curtail the occasioning of disgust but only disgust of a certain kind. Problems arise for her account when she extends this analysis to the prevention of offensiveness. Unavoidable is an evaluation of those beliefs subscription to which explains the taking of offence. Hence the principal problem for a liberalism of the kind Nussbaum defends is how to combine Mill’s harm principle with a Rawlsian understanding of the reasonableness of belief.
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