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Harm and Culpability$
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A. P. Simester and A. T. H. Smith

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198260578

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198260578.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 July 2021

Why Distinguish Intention from Foresight?

Why Distinguish Intention from Foresight?

(p.71) 4 Why Distinguish Intention from Foresight?
Harm and Culpability

A. P. Simester

Oxford University Press

Philosophers conventionally distinguish between intentional actions and actions which are merely foreseen. The criminal law endorses that distinction, and applies a condition of unreasonableness before any foreseen action is declared reckless. This chapter challenges the standard view that intention has moral primacy and suggests that the difference between intentional and advertent wrongdoing is not to be measured in degrees of culpability, but is instead worked out in terms of what actions may legitimately be invoked to justify wrongdoing. The central moral distinction between intended actions and those merely foreseen is that the foreseen do not lend any favourable weight to the justification of the intended. Before addressing the question of intrinsic moral distinctions, this chapter considers the possibility that there might also be instrumental reasons for the law to distinguish between intention and advertence. It examines A. Kenny's views on actus reus, intention, foresight, and the probability of harm, and John M. Finnis's arguments on incommensurability and justification as well as the moral distinctions between ends, means, and side-effects.

Keywords:   criminal law, intention, foresight, advertence, actus reus, harm, incommensurability, justification, side-effects, John M. Finnis

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