This book began not as a scholarly enterprise but as a service to the text-hungry law faculties of Russia and other post-Communist countries in Asia and Eastern Europe. I wanted to write a book that would introduce Russian law students to Western ways of thinking about criminal law. Indeed, I conceived of doing a series of books for Russian law students on basic concepts of law, with an emphasis on jurisprudential and comparative issues. The Constitutional and Legislative Policy Institute in Budapest, then headed by Stephen Holmes, thought that this was a good idea, and we entered into a contract to supply the first two books in the series, one on criminal law and one on property. Ugo Mattei, then of the Hastings and Trento, Italy, law faculties, agreed to write the book on property.
Once I decided to organize the book around the twelve dichotomies that lie at the foundation of criminal justice everywhere, I realized that the approach had merit as well for American and Western European students of law. The result is a series of books based, more or less, on the modular text that lies before you. In each foreign edition, a local commentator takes charge of the translation and adds material on the way the twelve universal distinctions discussed in this book find expression it the local positive law.
This approach, which stresses the common philosophical dimensions of criminal law, will soon be known around the world. The Spanish edition, prepared by Francisco Muñoz Conde of Sevilla, Spain, ap-