Book Chapter

Risks, Culpability and Criminal Liability



Duff RA (2012) Risks, Culpability and Criminal Liability. In: Sullivan G & Dennis IH I (eds.) Seeking Security: Pre-Empting the Commission of Criminal Harms. Oxford: Hart, pp. 121-142.

First paragraph: Our practical lives are filled with enterprises: activities large or small, long or short, major or minor, structured by their orientation to an intended goal, analysable into indefinitely large sets of specific actions. My current enterprises include writing this chapter - today's part in that enterprise being the writing of this first section; making dinner for friends this evening, which involves planning the menu and shopping this morning; going to the gym - which I do every weekday; selling my house - for which there is nothing that I need do today. An enterprise is defined initially by its relationship to its intended goal (a goal that might itself be a final end or a means to some further goal, or a constituent of a larger goal): writing this chapter, giving a dinner party, getting fit, selling my house, are the ends for whose sake I act; they define my current enterprises. However, enterprises can also be described in different terms, including some that the agent would not herself use. Two ways in which that can happen are of interest here. First, the very end in terms of which I define my enterprise might be re-described through the describer's normative perspective: writing this chapter might be re-described as indulging in a pointless intellectual game; giving this dinner party as murdering animals; going to the gym as narcissistic posturing; selling my house as alienating my family's heritage. Second, the enterprise can also be described in terms of some of its actual or likely side effects (effects other than those directly intended, some known to the agent, some not): in writing this chapter I am neglecting my students; as a consequence of making this dinner for my friends I will go overdrawn at the bank; given my weak heart, going to the gym as I do endangers my health; selling my house will deprive the relatives who have been living with me of their home.

Publication date31/12/2012
Publisher URL…bn=9781849461665
Place of publicationOxford

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Professor Antony Duff

Professor Antony Duff

Emeritus Professor, Philosophy