Prima Facie Moral Culpability

Michael Moore

in Placing Blame

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199599493
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594649 | DOI:
Prima Facie Moral Culpability

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Overall blameworthiness is seen as a function of two moral properties, wrongdoing and culpability. This chapter and the four next succeeding all deal with culpability. Prima facie moral culpability is prima facie only in the sense that considerations of excuse are temporarily excluded. The chapter gives an overview of possible gradations in degrees of culpability depending on whether a given harm was: desired for its own sake; intended as a means to something else that was desired for its own sake; believed with certainty to follow on one’s actions; believed to some substantial degree of risk to follow on one’s action; unreasonably risked even if not desired, intended, or unaccompanied by any level of predictive belief. These states of intention, desire, belief, and unreasonable risk, constitute the various degrees of prima facie culpability with which a given wrong can be done.

Keywords: culpability; wrongdoing; intent; foresight; negligence specific intent; motive; recklessness

Chapter.  6908 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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