The Sequential Principle of Relative Culpability*

Douglas Husak

in The Philosophy of Criminal Law

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199585038
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723476 | DOI:
 							The Sequential Principle of Relative Culpability*

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This chapter takes a modest step towards providing a theory of culpability by examining an important constraint that any such theory might be thought to satisfy. This constraint is referred to as the ‘sequential principle of relative culpability’: Ceteris paribus, it is worse to perform the same criminal act purposely than knowingly, or knowingly than recklessly, or recklessly than negligently. The chapter critically discusses this sequential principle and questions why no existing statutory schemes in penal codes conform to it.

Keywords: mens rea; culpability; blame; purpose; knowledge; recklessness; negligence

Chapter.  12886 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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