Criminal law, many claim, makes blaming judgments. If this is correct, the ethics of blame cannot but be part of criminal law theory. Imagine A is considering whether to blame B for X. Two questions arise:(1)Is B blameworthy for X?(2)Is A in a position to do the blaming?Let X be refusing to help a friend move house. Let B be the refuser. If B refuses because she is too lazy to help, B is blameworthy for X. It does not follow that everyone is in a position to blame B: if A is a stranger, B's refusal may be none of A's business. We should then answer yes to (1), and no to (2). Things are different if A is the friend B refused: all else being equal, she is in a position to blame B. But if B refuses because she is attending her grandmother's funeral, B is not blameworthy. We should answer yes to (2), but no to (1).Justifications and excuses are generally thought to bear on the answer to (1). Those who have one or the other are not blameworthy, and this is a strong reason not to blame them. That reason helps explain why justificatory
The Modern Law Review – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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