The Ethics of Belief


in Criminal Responsibility

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199225828
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191718571 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

The Ethics of Belief

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This chapter is concerned with criminal liability in cases where the defendant had mistaken beliefs about the outcome of his or her actions. It is sometimes argued, by subjectivists, that we can be responsible for causing a certain outcome only if we were aware of at least the risk of that outcome coming about. Objectivists disagree, arguing that we are responsible for an outcome even if we were ignorant of its possibility if the reasonable person would have been aware of that outcome. In this chapter, a middle position is developed which suggests that we are sometimes criminally responsible for outcomes that we did not foresee.

Keywords: risk; responsibility; belief; objectivism; criminal liability; mistaken beliefs

Chapter.  15256 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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