Individualizing the Reasonable Person in Criminal Law

Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (2):137-162 (2008)
Abstract
Criminal law commonly requires judges and juries to decide whether defendants acted reasonably. Nevertheless, issues of reasonableness fall into two distinct categories: (1) where reasonableness concerns events and states, including risks of which an actor is conscious, that can be justly assessed without regard to the actor’s individual traits, and (2) where reasonableness concerns culpable mental states and emotions that cannot justly be assessed without reference to the actor’s capacities. This distinction is significant because, while the reasonable person by which category-1 cases are assessed is a disembodied and impersonal ideal that consists of nothing but the uncompromising values of the jurisdiction, the reasonable person by which category-2 cases are measured must necessarily incorporate some of an actor’s individual traits or risk blaming the blameless. Courts and commentators have thus far approached the task of individualizing or subjectivizing reasonableness in category 2 by trying to determine in advance which individual traits are generally relevant and which are not. I propose an alternative approach that, in addition to applying to negligence and voluntary manslaughter cases alike, derives its content from the social practice of blaming. I propose that a reasonable person in category-2 cases consists of every physical, psychological, and emotional trait an actor possesses, with one exception—the exception being that he possesses proper respect for the values of the people of the state as reflected and incorporated in the statute at hand
Keywords Reasonable person  Individualization  Provocation  Negligence  Blame
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,731
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Kenneth Simons (2011). When is Negligent Inadvertence Culpable? Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (2):97-114.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-08-10

Total downloads

14 ( #112,549 of 1,098,628 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #174,018 of 1,098,628 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.