Artificial Intelligence and Law

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 301–321 | Cite as

An ontology of physical causation as a basis for assessing causation in fact and attributing legal responsibility

  • Jos LehmannEmail author
  • Aldo Gangemi
Original Paper


Computational machineries dedicated to the attribution of legal responsibility should be based on (or, make use of) a stack of definitions relating the notion of legal responsibility to a number of suitably chosen causal notions. This paper presents a general analysis of legal responsibility and of causation in fact based on Hart and Honoré’s work. Some physical aspects of causation in fact are then treated within the “lite” version of DOLCE foundational ontology written in OWL-DL, a standard description logic for the Semantic Web.


causation in fact formal ontology legal responsibility physical causation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Applied Ontology, Institute of Cognitive Science and TechnologyItalian National Research CouncilRomeItaly

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