Comments on Doug Husak: The Low Cost of Recognizing (and of Ignoring) the Limited Relevance of Intentions to Permissibility

Criminal Law and Philosophy 3 (1):71-78 (2009)
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Doug Husak frames a worry that makes sense in the abstract, but in reality, there is not much to worry about. The thesis that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility (IIP) is a straw man. There are reasons to think that the moral significance of intentions is not properly registered in criminal law. But the moral basis for criticism is not nearly as extreme as the IIP, and the fixes are not that hard to make. Lastly, if they are not made, some people may not get the punishments they deserve, and there will be some extra inequities in the criminal law as a result. But these inequities are not so great that change must be made now. The moral categories that are used may be too crude, but they are also familiar and easy to work with, and that counts for something



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Alec Walen
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

Willfully Blind for Good Reason.Deborah Hellman - 2009 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 3 (3):301-316.
The Relevance of Intention to Criminal Wrongdoing.Dana Kay Nelkin & Samuel C. Rickless - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (4):745-762.

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References found in this work

The Right and the Good. Some Problems in Ethics.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Oxford: Clarendon Press. Edited by Philip Stratton-Lake.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
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The Right and the Good.W. D. Ross - 1935 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 119 (1):124-124.

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