1 Introduction. Causation In The Law By Hart And Honoré

1501 WordsApr 22, 20177 Pages
1 Introduction Causation in the Law by Hart and Honoré attempts to find a middle ground between causal minimalists and causal maximalists, arguing that legal decision-making utilises causal connections beyond merely informing policy decisions, and yet not so far as to make them necessary and sufficient conditions of responsibility. However, the authors are only able to reliably discuss the role that causation plays in legal decision-making having first described a “common-sense” conception of causation, typically utilised by lawyers and historians. In Chapter 5 of The Cement of the Universe, John Mackie describes their “common-sense” conception of causation as “one of the best ordinary causal concepts”, Mackie focusing on Hart and…show more content…
The first chapter of their book is formulated as both an exploration of the notions of causation embraced key philosophers, as well as a critique of these notions in a reply to Mill’s theories of causation. 2.1 Mill’s Theory of Causation Hart and Honoré draw from Mill’s writings four key points, the first of which is the central notion that “the concept of causation is that of invariable sequence in nature”. For Mill, the assertion that X is the cause of Y is equivalent to claiming that X is invariably followed by Y. While they accept that any particular causal statement asserts the truth of the general connections that underlie that sequence of events, Hart and Honoré are quick to point out that this is an excessively high standard for any account of causation, let alone the common-sense notions of causation typically used in everyday life. Mill establishes the plurality of causes, asserting that any given effect may have more than one independent set of sufficient conditions. While scientifically and philosophically controversial, Hart and Honoré accept that “the lawyer, historian and the plain man” operate on the doctrine that any given event may be produced by different causes. Insofar as theirs is an exploration of the common-sense conception of causation, this admission is perfectly acceptable. Mill also argues that there may be a complexity of causes. To be more precise, Mill asserts that the cause of
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