Michael Moore and the Mysteries of Causation in the Law

19 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2011

See all articles by Larry Alexander

Larry Alexander

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: September 8, 2011


Michael Moore believes that causation of harm is central to criminal desert, and he believes that whether or not a criminal defendant has caused a harm is a metaphysical question rather than a matter of policy. I do not believe in the materiality of causation to criminal desert, but in this article I assume that causation is material and asked whether Moore has satisfactorily resolved the stock vexing questions by recourse to metaphysics. I conclude that he has not, and his scalar notion of causation, and his substitution of counterfactual dependence for causation in cases of omissions and prevention, produces counterintuitive results.

Keywords: causation, counterfactual dependence, scalar

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Lawrence, Michael Moore and the Mysteries of Causation in the Law (September 8, 2011). Rutgers Law Journal, Forthcoming; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 11-063. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1924437

Lawrence Alexander (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

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