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Placing Blame – A Theory of the Criminal Law - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Placing Blame: A Theory of the Criminal Law

Michael S. Moore


The book aims to give a comprehensive theory of the substantive criminal law. It first develops a theory of what a comprehensive theory of any area of law, such as criminal law, should look like. Explanatory, evaluative and descriptive theories are distinguished, and the partly normative nature of ‘descriptive’ theories is defended. Boundary conditions for what counts as an area of law are also developed and applied to criminal law. The book then proceeds in three parts. Part I defines and defends a retributive theory of punishment, a theory according to which the sole function of the criminal ... More

Keywords: retributivism, punishment, responsibility, excuse, justification, act, intention, causation, moral luck

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780199599493
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599493.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael S. Moore, author
Charles R. Walgreen Jr., University Chair and Centre for Advanced Study Professor of Law and Philosophy. University of Illinois
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Part I The Theory of Criminal Law’s Function

Part II The Theory of The General Part: The Theory of Responsibility

A The Nature of Moral Responsibility

B The Elements of Responsibility: Wrongdoing and Culpability

1. The Nature of Wrongdoing

a. The Nature of Human Action

b. The Nature of Causation

2. The Nature of Culpability

a. The Nature of Mental States

b. The Nature of Excuse

C The Agents Who Can Be Responsible: The Nature of Personhood

Part III The Theory of the Special Part: Theories of Legislation and of Wrongful Action

A The Theory of Proper Legislative Aim

B The Theory of Moral Wrongfulness

C The Theory of the Limits of Criminal Legislation

End Matter