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On Complicity and Compromise$
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Chiara Lepora and Robert E. Goodin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677900

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677900.001.0001

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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 September 2021

Responsibility for Complicity

Responsibility for Complicity

A Minimum Threshold

(p.78) 5 Responsibility for Complicity
On Complicity and Compromise

Chiara Lepora

Robert E. Goodin

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses what is minimally required in order for an agent to count as complicit with a wrongful act of another. Sharing the purposes of the principal wrongdoer is more than is minimally required. Acting in the knowledge that her act will contribute to wrongdoing is sufficient to make one morally complicit in it; and culpable ignorance is no excuse. Contributing knowingly to the wrongdoing is different from (a more distant relationship to the principal wrongdoing than) ‘intending to participate in it’. Certain platitudes about the nature of action and of moral responsibility and legal guilt might lead us to think something more like shared intentions are required, but wrongly so. US law may lead us to think otherwise, but that is a quirk of legal history. Both deontologists and consequentialists should be able to accommodate themselves to the weaker ‘knowledge without purpose’ standard of responsibility for complicity.

Keywords:   complicity, shared purpose, knowledge without purpose, model penal code, culpable ignorance

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