Law and Philosophy

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 265–281 | Cite as

How to do things on purpose: R. A. Duff'sIntention, Agency, and Criminal Liability

  • Michael Corrado
Review Essay


There is a lot of material in this book, and Duff handles most of it very well. It is unfortunate that he felt the need to tie his discussion of serious philosophical questions in the criminal law to larger overarching questions of philosophy. It is possible that current conceptions of intentional action implicate dualism (or Dualism), I suppose, but that would be a book-length discussion all of its own. It would begin with a careful discussion of just what dualism is, and would track down the various ways in which particular substantive positions on intentional action rule out alternatives to dualism. Such a work might be interesting indeed. It would be interesting, for example, to see a discussion of a type of conceptual dualism that I suspect Duff would find congenial: a dualism that insisted upon the autonomy of purposive notions and rejected the causal analysis of intentional action. Would that sort of dualism make any difference at all for the criminal law? It might, and it might not. But in any event that is not what we find in this book, which, for all of its healthy enthusiasm for the place of philosophy in the law shows an excessive tolerance for makeweight arguments about the great questions.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Corrado
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawUniv. of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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