Causation in the Law

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Clarendon Press, 1985 - Law - 516 pages
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The starting point of the first edition of this work (published in 1959) was the claim that courts in determining legal responsibility employ common-sense notions of causation. It made explicit what these notions were, and how they are related to the causal theories of Mill and Hume on the one hand, and to the actual decisions of courts and the arguments of legal theorists on the other. In the new edition, the first five chapters on 'The Analysis of Causal Concepts' are largely unchanged, but a Preface of 50 pages deals with legal (and philosophical) criticisms of the first edition. It seeks to vindicate common-sense causal criteria as an element in legal responsibility, against causal minimalists who identify causal connection with sine qua non, and causal maximists who would make causal connection a necessary and sufficient condition of responsibility. It outlines a rationale of this middle way. The legal material has been revised and account has been taken of several hundred decisions reached since the first edition. A striking feature of these decisions is the extent to which they conform to common-sense causal criteria even when they purport to be based on foreseeability, risk, adequacy, or other distinct notions, and hence confirm the soundness of the analysis advanced in 1959.

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About the author (1985)

H. L. A. Hart is at Oxford University (Emeritus). Tony Honore is at Oxford University (Emeritus).

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