, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 81-92
Date: 30 Jul 2011

“Moore or Less” Causation and Responsibility

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What makes someone responsible for a prohibited result? Traditionally, those who believe results matter morally and legally have looked at the matter this way: If the actor acts culpably vis-à-vis the result—the result is her purpose in acting, or she believes to a practical certainty that the result will occur if she acts, or believes that the result’s occurrence is sufficiently likely—and if the result does occur and would not have occurred but for her culpable act (counterfactual dependence), then she is responsible for that result.

Antony Duff argues that moral responsibility is strict, so all that is required is causation, but the transition from moral responsibility (being called to answer for one’s act) to moral liability requires culpability. On the other hand, Duff argues that for the criminal law, criminal responsibility requires both causation and culpability (Duff 2007).

There were two qualifications attached to this view, however. First, the view did not produce the intuitiv ...