Necessary and Sufficient Conditions in Tort Law
Argument about causation inside and outside the law is often concerned with the following question: Must a cause be a necessary condition of a result, a sufficient condition of the result, or a necessary element in a set of conditions jointly sufficient to produce the result? This chapter supports the third view, both outside the law and inside it, whenever a sequence of physical events is in issue. A different but related idea can be used to explain reasons for human action, ‘causing’ or inducing people to act rather than causing things to happen. When causal connection must be proved, the law also settles what must be shown to have caused what. Tort law generally imposes fault liability on people who by their wrongful conduct cause harm to others; but sometimes it imposes strict liability on people whose specially dangerous activities, though not wrongful, cause others harm.
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