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Criminally Ignorant - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Criminally Ignorant

Alexander Sarch


Criminally Ignorant: Why the Law Pretends We Know What We Don’t is about the legal fiction that we know what we don’t. If you bury your head in the sand rather than learn you’re committing a crime, you can be punished as if you knew. How can that be justified? This book offers a framework to explain why it’s not as puzzling as it seems. When remaining ignorant of the facts is sufficiently culpable, the interests and values protected by the criminal law are served by punishing you as though you knew those facts. This idea—imputing mental states based on equal culpability—is what this book seeks ... More

Keywords: legal fictions, willful ignorance, knowledge, recklessness, mens rea, motivated reasoning, duty to inform oneself, criminal law reform, criminal culpability, corporate mental states

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780190056575
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190056575.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alexander Sarch, author
Reader (Associate Professor) in Legal Philosophy, University of Surrey, School of Law