“A Compatibilist Theory of Legal Responsibility” (forthcoming)

I just heard that my article A Compatibilist Theory of Legal Responsibility (CTLR) has been accepted for publication (subject to minor changes) in Criminal Law and Philosophy.

This article is particularly dear to me because it’s actually an embryonic version of a book that I’m working on by the same title. In this article I outline what I see as a number of shortcomings with compatibilist responsibility theory, and then I hint at how I think that these shortcomings might be addressed. Many other problems don’t get a mention, and the solutions that I propose really are just sketches (and in some cases they are merely promissory notes). But there’s only that much you can fit into a journal article, which is why this thing is getting written up as a book.

Here’s the abstract:

Philosophical compatibilism reconciles moral responsibility with determinism, and some neurolaw scholars think that it can also reconcile legal views about responsibility with scientific findings about the neurophysiological basis of human action. I too am a compatibilist, but in this paper I will argue that philosophical compatibilism can not simply be transplanted “as-is” from philosophy into law. Rather, before compatibilism can be re-deployed, it must first be modified to take account of differences between legal versus moral responsibility and a scientific versus deterministic world view, and to address a range of conceptual, normative, empirical and doctrinal problems that orbit its capacitarian core.

So if you’d like an early preview of the sort of argument that the book-length version of CTLR is going to contain then follow me on twitter (link at the bottom-right of this page) as I’ll tweet about it when the article is available for download. And since it will be published with Open Access, you’ll be able to download it for free.

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