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Placing BlameA Theory of the Criminal Law$
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Michael S. Moore

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599493

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599493.001.0001

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Choice, Character, and Excuse

Choice, Character, and Excuse

Chapter:
(p.548) 13 Choice, Character, and Excuse
Source:
Placing Blame
Author(s):

Michael Moore (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599493.003.0013

Having rejected the causal theory of excuse in chapter 12, it remains to ascertain what would be a good theory of the excuses. Two such theories are examined, the choice theory and the character theory. Both theories of excuse depend on deeper theories about the true desert basis for responsibility. The choice theory regards choice as the touchstone of culpability, so that excuses have the function of filtering out when either diminished capacity or limited opportunity render otherwise culpable choices non-blameworthy. The character theory regards character as the touchstone of culpability, so that excuses have the function of filtering out those actions not expressive of bad character and exempting those actors from blame. Reasons are given to prefer the choice theory of excuse.

Keywords:   choice, character, excuse, causation, compulsion, opportunity, capacity, negligence

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