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Causation and ResponsibilityAn Essay in Law, Morals, and Metaphysics$
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Michael S. Moore

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256860.001.0001

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The Law's Own Characterizations of its Causal Requirements

The Law's Own Characterizations of its Causal Requirements

(p.81) 4 The Law's Own Characterizations of its Causal Requirements
Causation and Responsibility

Michael S. Moore (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an examination of the law's own explicit theory about the presuppositions about the nature of causation made by legal doctrines and moral norms. The aim of the chapter is largely taxonomical, aiming to arrive at a workable taxonomy of legal tests of causation. That taxonomy is built on the distinction between ‘cause-in-fact’ and ‘proximate’ or ‘legal’ causation. The dominant test of cause in fact is the but-for test, also known as the sine qua non test, whereas the dominant proximate cause tests are the foreseeability, harm-within-the-risk, and direct cause tests. By charting the heavy qualifications, the law itself adds to these dominant legal tests about causation. The chapter also intends to cast doubt on whether the law is committed to the concept of causation these tests say it is committed to.

Keywords:   proximate causation, legal causation, cause-in-fact, but-for test, sine qua non, direct cause, foreseeability, harm

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