Friday, May 3, 2013
#123 / What Did I Do?
Legal liability tends to be associated with a determination of causation. If there is no causation, there is no liability. But how easy is it to determine who has caused what?
Not as easy as you might think, at least where legal responsibility is at issue.
The book illustrated, Causation In The Law, by H.L.A Hart and A.M. Honoré, is a philosophical examination of the concept of causation, with specific reference to this concept as it is used in the law. I have a much underlined copy of the 1959 First Edition, exactly as pictured here. It is one of my favorite books in the world. You can find the book in its original edition on sale (just click the link above), but you can also buy the book, dressed up in a more contemporary cover, with A.M. Honoré now being called "Tony." If you want to get into the philosophy without buying the book, there is an online synopsis of the issues in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
I have been reflecting on what I might legitimately claim to have "done" during my life, at least to date, and concepts of causation are obviously relevant. That is what has brought me back to Hart and Honoré. For someone wanting to answer that "what did I [really] do?" question, this book is a good place to start.