Routledge Handbook on Collective Intentionality, Eds. Marija Jankovic, Kirk Ludwig. Routledge University Press, 2017
18 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2017 Last revised: 12 Dec 2017
Date Written: 2017
Complicity marks out a way that one person can be liable to sanctions for the wrongful conduct of another. After describing the concept and role of complicity in the law, I argue that much of the motivation for presenting complicity as a separate basis of criminal liability is misplaced; paradigmatic cases of complicity can be assimilated into standard causation-based accounts of criminal liability. But unlike others who make this sort of claim I argue that there is still room for genuine complicity in the law and in morality. In defending this claim, I sketch an approach to complicity which grounds our liability for what others do not in our causal relation to their actions but in our “agency-relations” with others. In such cases, one agent can be liable for the wrongs of second agent to the extent that first authorizes the second to act at her behest. This approach fills the gap where standard causation-based accounts of complicity fail – especially in where several agents cooperatively contribute to an overdetermined harm.
Keywords: complicity, criminal law, liability, culpability, collective responsibility, proxy, authority, overdetermination, over-determination
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