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Culpability

OXFORD HANDBOOK OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE CRIMINAL MIND, John Deigh and Stuart Green, eds., 2008

San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 08-060

35 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2008  

Larry Alexander

University of San Diego School of Law

Abstract

In this encyclopedia entry I set forth my analysis of culpability and its place in a justification of criminal punishment. I argue that culpability is the product of the totality of the risks the actor believes he is unleashing through his willed bodily movement (or through his failure to act) and his reasons for so acting (or omitting). Culpability is also affected by the quality of the actor's deliberation. This risks/reasons analysis of culpability eliminates the separate roles of purpose, knowledge, and recklessness in traditional mens rea analysis and rejects the notion that negligence is culpable. It also casts doubt on traditional inchoate crimes such as the "substantial step" attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation as well as on the traditional requirements of complicity and instead asks only whether the actor believes he has unleashed risks of harm or only intends to unleash risks at some future time.

Keywords: culpability, retributivism, desert, recklesness, omissions, purpose, knowledge, negligence, intention

JEL Classification: K00, K10

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Larry, Culpability. OXFORD HANDBOOK OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE CRIMINAL MIND, John Deigh and Stuart Green, eds., 2008; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 08-060. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1226722

Lawrence Alexander (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-2317 (Phone)
619-260-4728 (Fax)

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