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Comments on Doug Husak: The Low Cost of Recognizing (and of Ignoring) the Limited Relevance of Intentions to Permissibility

Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol. 3, pp. 71-78, 2009

8 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2009  

Alec D. Walen

Rutgers School of Law; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: October 30, 2008

Abstract

Doug Husak frames a worry that makes sense in the abstract, but in reality, there is not much to worry about. The thesis that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility (IIP) is a straw man. There are reasons to think that the moral significance of intentions is not properly registered in criminal law. But the moral basis for criticism is not nearly as extreme as the IIP, and the fixes are not that hard to make. Lastly, if they are not made, some people may not get the punishments they deserve, and there will be some extra inequities in the criminal law as a result. But these inequities are not so great that change must be made now. The moral categories that are used may be too crude, but they are also familiar and easy to work with, and that counts for something.

Keywords: intention, permissibility, doctrine of double effect (DDE), criminal law, moral philosophy, mens rea, culpability

Suggested Citation

Walen, Alec D., Comments on Doug Husak: The Low Cost of Recognizing (and of Ignoring) the Limited Relevance of Intentions to Permissibility (October 30, 2008). Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol. 3, pp. 71-78, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1489488

Alec D. Walen (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law ( email )

NJ
United States

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy ( email )

106 Somerset St
5th Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

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