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Punishment and Freedom$
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Alan Brudner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207251

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207251.001.0001

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Culpable Action

Culpable Action

(p.99) 3 Culpable Action
Punishment and Freedom

Alan Brudner

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops from legal retributivism an account of the culpable action requirement of criminal liability and elaborates the implications of that account for perennial problems in criminal law theory: whether and to what extent criminal liability should extend to omissions, to inchoate criminal endeavours, and to statuses. The chapter criticizes the dominant Austinian view of the act requirement both for requiring bodily motion and for separating the concept of an actus reus from that of a culpable mind. It also criticizes the moral account of the act requirement as leading to punishment for inward vice. It argues that the act requirement is a requirement that the accused have externalized a culpable intention and that the kind of externalization required for liability is a public manifestation of a choice to which a right-denial may be imputed. This account of the act requirement permits the reclamation of inchoate offences from a regime for the management of human threats to a law of punishment for free agents.

Keywords:   act requirement, actus reus, omissions, attempts, impossible attempts, incitement, possession offences, conspiracy

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