Applying Analytic Reasoning to Clarify Intention and Responsibility in Joint Criminal Enterprise Cases

17 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2016

See all articles by Anthony Amatrudo

Anthony Amatrudo

Middlesex University - School of Law

Date Written: October 4, 2016


English Abstract: This paper argues that both criminologists and lawyers need a far more philosophically robust account of joint action, notably as it relates to technical matters of intentionality and responsibility when dealing with joint criminal enterprise cases. Criminology seems unable see beyond the superficiality of cultural explanations ill-suited to understanding matters of action. Law seems wedded to mystical notions of foresight. As regards the law there seems common agreement that joint enterprise prosecutions tend to over-criminalise secondary parties. This paper suggests that the current discussions around joint criminal enterprise will benefit from a critical engagement with analytical philosophy. The paper will examine a series of technical accounts of shared commitment and intention in order to explain the problems of joint criminal enterprise (multi-agent criminal activity).

Spanish Abstract: Este artículo defiende que tanto criminólogos como abogados necesitan ofrecer una acción conjunta más robusta, desde el punto de vista filosófico, especialmente en lo que se refiere a aspectos técnicos de intencionalidad y responsabilidad, al tratar casos de colaboración criminal. La criminología parece incapaz de ver más allá de la superficialidad de las explicaciones culturales, inadecuadas para entender cuestiones de acción. El derecho parece aliado con nociones místicas de previsión. En lo que respecta al derecho, parece que existe un consenso en que los fiscales de asociaciones de malhechores tienden a penalizar en exceso a los cómplices. Este artículo sugiere que el debate actual sobre asociaciones criminales se beneficiará de un compromiso crítico con la filosofía analítica. El artículo analiza un conjunto de explicaciones técnicas de compromiso e intención compartidos para explicar los problemas de las asociaciones criminales (actividad criminal multi-agente).

Keywords: Joint Action, Joint Commitment, Joint Criminal Enterprise, Shared Intentions, Colaboración, Compromiso Conjunto, Asociación Criminal, Intenciones Compartidas

Suggested Citation

Amatrudo, Anthony, Applying Analytic Reasoning to Clarify Intention and Responsibility in Joint Criminal Enterprise Cases (October 4, 2016). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 6, No. 4, 2016, Available at SSRN:

Anthony Amatrudo (Contact Author)

Middlesex University - School of Law ( email )

The Burroughs
WG 11
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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