Causation and Responsibility: An Essay in Law, Morals, and Metaphysics

Paperback | August 22, 2010

byMichael S. Moore

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The concept of causation is fundamental to ascribing moral and legal responsibility for events. Yet the relationship between causation and responsibility remains unclear. What precisely is the connection between the concept of causation used in attributing responsibility and the accounts ofcausal relations offered in the philosophy of science and metaphysics? How much of what we call causal responsibility is in truth defined by non-causal factors? This book argues that much of the legal doctrine on these questions is confused and incoherent, and offers the first comprehensive attemptsince Hart and Honore to clarify the philosophical background to the legal and moral debates. The book first sets out the place of causation in criminal and tort law and outlines the metaphysics presupposed by the legal doctrine. It then analyses the best theoretical accounts of causation in the philosophy of science and metaphysics, and using these accounts criticises many of the core legalconcepts surrounding causation - such as intervening causation, forseeability of harm and complicity. It considers and rejects the radical proposals to eliminate the notion of causation from law by using risk analysis to attribute responsibility. The result of the analysis is a powerful argument forrevising our understanding of the role played by causation in the attribution of legal and moral responsibility.

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The concept of causation is fundamental to ascribing moral and legal responsibility for events. Yet the relationship between causation and responsibility remains unclear. What precisely is the connection between the concept of causation used in attributing responsibility and the accounts ofcausal relations offered in the philosophy of ...

Michael Moore holds the Charles R. Walgreen, Jr. Chair at the University of Illinois, where he is jointly appointed as the Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy. His major works include Placing Blame (OUP, 1997), Act and Crime (OUP, 1993) and Law and Psychiatry (CUP, 1984).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:640 pagesPublished:August 22, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199599513

ISBN - 13:9780199599516

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Table of Contents

I. The Role of Causation in Moral and Legal Responsibility1. The Embedding of Causation in Legal Liability Doctrines2. Causation and Moral Blameworthiness3. Causation and the Permissibility of Consequentialist Justification within Agent-Relative Morality and the LawII. Presuppositions about the Nature of Causation by Legal Doctrines4. The Law's Own Characterizations of its Causal Requirements5. The Prima Facie Demands of the Law on the Concept of Causation6. Pruning the Law's Demands on a Concept of CausationIII. The First Blind Alley: The Attempt to Replace Proximate Causation with Culpability as a Prerequisite for Legal Liability7. 'Negligence in the Air Will Not Do'8. Conceptual Problems in Applying the Harm-within-the- Risk Test to Crimes/Torts of Negligence9. Normative Problems in Applying the Harm-within-the- Risk Test to Crimes/Torts of Negligence10. The Descriptive Inaccuracy of the Harm-within-the- Risk Analysis as Measuring Proximate CausationIV. The Legal Presupposition of There Being 'Intervening Causes'11. The Legal Doctrines of Intervening Causation12. The Lack of any Metaphysical Basis for the Doctrines of Intervening Causation13. The Superfluity of Accomplice LiabilityV. The Metaphysics of Causal Relata14. A Prolegomenon to the Issue of Causal Relata15. The Facts, Events, States of Affairs, and Tropes DebateVI. The Metaphysics of the Causal Relation16. Counterfactual Conditionals17. The Counterfactual Theory of Causation18. The Role of Counterfactual Dependence as an Independent, Non-causal Desert-determiner19. Generalist Theories of Causation20. Singularist Theories of CausationAppendixContract Law and Causation: An IllustrationBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"This must rank as one of the most successful applications of analytical philosophy to substantive questions of law ever. There are few important questions of criminal, tort, contract, and property law that are not in some significant way intertwined with issues of causation. As a result,there are few such questions that this book leaves untouched, or unchanged. The book should fire the imagination of all willing to look in a fresh way at some of the most fundamental problems of law. No one trying to think seriously about those problems will be able to proceed, nor indeed would wantto proceed, without reckoning with its insights and arguments." --Leo Katz, Frank Carano Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School