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The Philosophy of Criminal LawSelected Essays$
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Douglas Husak

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585038

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585038.001.0001

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The Sequential Principle of Relative Culpability *

The Sequential Principle of Relative Culpability *

Chapter:
(p.177) 7 The Sequential Principle of Relative Culpability*
Source:
The Philosophy of Criminal Law
Author(s):

Douglas Husak (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585038.003.0008

This chapter takes a modest step towards providing a theory of culpability by examining an important constraint that any such theory might be thought to satisfy. This constraint is referred to as the ‘sequential principle of relative culpability’: Ceteris paribus, it is worse to perform the same criminal act purposely than knowingly, or knowingly than recklessly, or recklessly than negligently. The chapter critically discusses this sequential principle and questions why no existing statutory schemes in penal codes conform to it.

Keywords:   mens rea, culpability, blame, purpose, knowledge, recklessness, negligence

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