Roger Shiner, ‘Causation, Responsibility and Metaphysics’

This article is an extended review of Michael Moore’s recent book Causation and Responsibility. In the first part of the article I summarize the book: I present it as an important contribution to our understanding of how the law now does treat, and how from a normative perspective it really should treat, the significance of causation for responsibility. In the second part of the article I present some criticisms. The criticisms focus on Moore’s meta-jurisprudential or methodological claims. Moore presents his position as “metaphysical”, and as using a “scientific” concept of causation. Moore claims that his methodology is superior to the so-called ordinary language methodology of HLA Hart and AM Honoré in their Causation in the Law. I argue, first, that Moore’s repudiation of Hart and Honoré is based on a misunderstanding of their approach, and that if we pay attention to his own approach as he executes it, rather than to his claims about his own approach, his approach is essentially no different from that of Hart and Honoré. I argue, second, that Moore’s use of the terms “metaphysical” and “scientific” is confused when compared with what metaphysics as a genuine branch of philosophy is all about.

Shiner, Roger A., Causation, Responsibility and Metaphysics (June 30, 2011). Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming.

First posted 2012-02-27 07:56:58

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