, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 143-149
Date: 09 Nov 2006

Commentary to “Complicity and Causality”

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Preliminary remark

A theoretical analysis of complicity in moral norms and in the criminal law should address the following questions: What is the wrongdoing of complicity? Why distinguish between principals and accomplices? How can they be differentiated? In dealing with these questions, common cases should be considered. In ordinary cases, the accomplice is actively involved. In order to become an accomplice, one typically has to do something, like aiding the principal or procuring a crime.

John Gardner organizes his essay differently. He starts in a rather unusual place by analyzing a scenario of duress: person A orders person B to commit a horrible crime like flying an airplane into a skyscraper. If B does not obey the order, A himself will commit an even more horrible crime like having fifty airplanes flown into fifty skyscrapers. Gardner argues that B would be an accomplice to the crime committed by A if he chooses to remain passive. This conclusion needs discussion, which I will ...