By Michael S Moore
'The most comprehensive study of this topic since Hart and Honoré, this work pulsates with arguments and examples, all in the service of an integrated picture of the interactions between law, morals, the philosophy of mind, and the metaphysics of causation. Moore's uncompromising realism brings a remarkable unity to his argument, and will form the starting point for any similar discussion from now onwards.' - Simon Blackburn, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge
The concept of causation is fundamental to ascribing moral and legal responsibility for events. Yet the relationship between causation and responsibility remains unclear. What precisely is the connection between the concept of causation used in attributing responsibility and the accounts of causal relations offered in the philosophy of science and metaphysics? How much of what we call causal responsibility is in truth defined by non-causal factors? This book argues that much of the legal doctrine on these questions is confused and incoherent, and offers the first comprehensive attempt since Hart and Honoré to clarify the philosophical background to the legal and moral debates.
The book first sets out the place of causation in criminal and tort law and outlines the metaphysics presupposed by the legal doctrine. It then analyses the best theoretical accounts of causation in the philosophy of science and metaphysics, and using these accounts criticises many of the core legal concepts surrounding causation - such as intervening causation, forseeability of harm and complicity. It considers and rejects the radical proposals to eliminate the notion of causation from law by using risk analysis to attribute responsibility. The result of the analysis is a powerful argument for revising our understanding of the role played by causation in the attribution of legal and moral responsibility.
- Provides the fullest account available of the philosophical foundations of the law of causation, clarifying its role in attributing responsibility
- Develops from the philosophical analysis a powerful case for reforming the law in several key areas, including intervening causation and forseeability of harm
- Presents a compelling argument against the use of risk analysis as an alternative to causation
I. The Role of Causation in Moral and Legal Responsibility
II. Presuppositions about the Nature of Causation by Legal Doctrines
III. The First Blind Alley: The Attempt to Replace Proximate Causation with Culpability as a Prerequisite to Legal Liability
IV. The Legal Supposition of There Being 'Intervening Causes'
VI. The Metaphysics of the Causal Relation