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Jurisprudence Commons

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Legal Studies

2016

Causal determinism

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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Criminal Responsibility And Causal Determinism, J. G. Moore Jan 2016

Criminal Responsibility And Causal Determinism, J. G. Moore

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

In analytical jurisprudence, determinism has long been seen as a threat to free will, and free will has been considered necessary for criminal responsibility. Accordingly, Oliver Wendell Holmes held that if an offender were hereditarily or environmentally determined to offend, then her free will would be reduced, and her responsibility for criminal acts would be correspondingly diminished. In this respect, Holmes followed his father, Dr. Holmes, a physician and man of letters. Similar theories, such as neuropsychological theories of determinism, continue to influence views on criminal responsibility, although such theories do not imply that it is physically impossible for accused ...