NEGLIGENCE, MENS REA, AND CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY
This chapter reviews Dr. Turner's famous essay on negligence, The Mental Element in Crimes at Common Law. The chapter then argues that Turner's conclusions about the place of negligence in the common law rest on a mistaken conception, both of the way in which mental or ‘subjective’ elements are involved in human action, and of the reasons why we attach the great importance which we do to the principle that liability to criminal punishment should be conditional on the presence of a mental element. These misconceptions have not been sufficiently examined: yet they are widely shared and much encouraged by traditional legal ways of talking about the relevance of the mind to responsibility.
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