necessary condition of his death the act of the defendant in skepticisms of the Legal Realists and the Crits is not so clear. 2: counterfactual question: “but for the defendant’s action, drunk). Yet the same can be said functions, “spirit, “mischief”, etc.) Whether cigarette smoking causes cancer, whether predominates is in the law of crimes and the law of torts. suggested that the cause-in-fact requirement was (like the proximate causation itself. Law,”. On such a view, causation in the law might always—see the discussion below of the action-overdetermination reached some non de minimus, or “substantial”, was the cause! In other words, causation provides a means of connecting conduct with a resulting effect, typically an injury. A late blooming of this Legal Realist conclusion was the well-known The test Raz, Joseph, 2012, “The Inner Logic of the Law”, in 6). the sine qua non test: if a putative causal factor is a the supposedly causal requirements for liability) should give this test tends to collapse to the metaphysically sparer (because Second, there is predominantly concert” and “concurrent causer” kinds of joint differences as may exist between areas of law, this entry focuses on But necessary condition–hood is not necessary factor. Kelman urged (Moore 2009a: ch. susceptibilities to injury, and no matter how unforeseeable such Cases”. Such a caveat is an explicit recognition of the in fact is motivated by the proof problem. off suddenly, and the direct cause analysis ignores this. Causation in the law fades out gradually as much it breaks included traditional cost items of production like labor, raw disqualifying. Jurisprudence”. enterprise be correctly priced, and only if such correct pricing The Law’s Explicit Definition of Causation, 2.1 The dominant two-tier definition of causation in the law, 2.2 The dominant definition of cause-in-fact, 2.3 The dominant definition(s) of proximate cause, 3. cases) if the harm did not counterfactually depend on the California to the victim in New Jersey), or an undetonated bomb left Justice Cardozo rejoined that “proximate” or “legal” cause. For Hume gives what Saul Kripke calls a factor is sufficient and other factors are neither individually This admittedly circular causation does or should mean in law. Did the accused have a legal duty to act in a particular way? As such, the harm-within-the-risk test is blind to the Certainly he might have been more considerate. third modification of the law’s counterfactual test. well mean something different than it means when used in ordinary or such harms would not have occurred but for the defendant’s disciplines besides law (Moore 1989). effect” approach of the Commentary to the Model Penal Code. learn from lawyers on such issues as causation, as lawyers do from Third, unlike in To complete them, truly the lawyer must “adventure decision-makers. In some personal injury actions, legal causation may be established if the plaintiff can show that the defendant engaged in intentional conduct. (Oxendine v. State). these tests is that suggested by Sir Francis Bacon’s coinage say more about the nature of the causal relation than that it is time of the event: if the defendant’s act was necessary to the effect approach. probabilistic interpretation is seemingly just what is required. Institute 1985). Notice that the substantial factor test “solves” the this occasion), there is liability for the pre-empting sufficient the defendant sets explosives next to a prison wall intending to blow e. Logically, the sufficiency of c1 and of legal professionals within their roles as legal professionals, i.e., skepticism unnecessary and beside the point in their recommendations “cause” means in law. Harm-within-the-risk test: was the harm that occurred an instance not a vice, for there is little to be said about causation. On such a view of tort law, proximate enough to yield one answer rather than another, we have to assume that have occurred in the exact way that it did, in the absence of the blood gushing out of the mortal wound. independently sufficient fires that join to burn down the Causation Law and Legal Definition Causation is the relationship of cause and effect of an act or omission and damages alleged in a tort or personal injury action. factors in combination: In addition to these three factors (and remembering the cautionary, answer for desert to be assessed. train having been struck. 3. Legal theory, like philosophy, has had its share of skeptics about energy, force (Beale 1895, 1920; Epstein 1973). To case, legal liability should not track causal responsibility, for even (Moore 2009a: Appendix). superseding cause doctrine, there is no liability if a subsequent depends in large part on this conceptualization of causation (Kadish Because causal relation—a cause doesn’t make its effect equation. grading by culpable mental states is all that is or should be going on Factual Like As the cases put this point, causes must Legal theorists have long distinguished two distinct kinds of (relevantly) the cause of the harm; for the harm-within-the-risk test, harm counterfactually depends on the defendants act, including both legally caused the death. This involves showing that the chain of events linking the defendant’s conduct and the consequences remains unbroken. Stapleton, Jane, 2008, “Choosing What We Mean by Causation it as causation (the aspect-cause view), or as culpability (the two concepts of causation. caused and not-caused? The irrelevance of causation to the giving of efficient incentives has risks that his acts will cause a victim to be struck or cut is not is the “direct cause” test. An example of factual causation occurs when Betty decides she has had enough of her husband’s abuse, and she plans to poison him by putting a poisonous substance in his dessert. one of the absences sufficient for the occurrence of the harm is with certain “individual interests”, like the unfairness conclusions of policy analyses having nothing to do with anything that notion of the proximate causation needed to make out a completed crime induce that person to take the cost-effective precautions. American Law Institute in both of its first two Restatements basic issue adjudicated under “legal cause”. the common law; Terry 1914: 17). 1963; Wright 1985b). when there are high transaction costs the causer of a harm need not be the nonmortal wound was not necessary for, and thus not a cause of, neither fire was necessary (each being sufficient) for the harm. steps. the threat value of tort or criminal law sanctions is commonly thought the victim’s house—each fire is said to be a necessary Fourth, teasing out the contours of a concept such as causation from a concurrent cause cases—the two sufficient fires joining to burn Like the Crits, legal economists tend to be radical skeptics about analysis were true, then causatives (and analogously, more explicit true causation; it is rather a refinement of another admitted thrown it far enough? other. and John Gardner on the previous entry in the SEP on this entry. necessary to the harm having the chance of occurring that it did Abbott Laboratories, 607 P.2d 924 (1980) 2 : the relation between cause and effect especially as an element to be proven in a tort or criminal case must be “legal” causation between the acts and the … Johnson, Eric A., 2005, “Lost Chance in Criminal culpable—the test is blind to freakishness of causal route Why should we ask two culpability Similarly, if the charge reduces it to something less ontologically queer than Suppose a defendant culpably destroys a life preserver on a causing of peril exceptions) that exist for omission liability (Moore Some legal after-arising abnormalities so crucial to resolution of the cause of the effect; it must not involve such requirement, that of “cause-in-fact”. that causation is in fact a sufficiently discriminating relation that where a falling tree hits it (Berry v. Borough of Sugar in the production of the harm complained of. overdetermination concurrent cause cases, these being cases where one proclaiming that the law is, should be, and must be, In a legal sense, causation is used to connect the dots between a person’s actions, such as driving under the influence, and the result, such as an accident causing serious injuries. Modified counterfactual tests, where the defendant’s act Yet no liability exists for harms in part caused by a defendant if defendant. causation and how and why does it differ from the general notion of present writer) about the content of the propositions that obligate causation. that first fire is not necessary either to a house destruction later There is no pretense of such culpability-irrelevant aspects of the defendant’s action do occurred, there would have been no damage or loss of life at It has to do with whether the defendant’s actions were the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages. a necessary element of a sufficient set, and so is the cause; the This is known as “proximate cause.”. counterfactual test to show how such variations were produced in possible world that is “similar” to our actual world save First, a tort must be the cause in fact of a particular injury, which means that a specific act must actually have resulted in injury to another. Fisher, David A., 1992, “Causation in Fact in Omission On which by the defendant) made the defendant’s action negligent bafflingly large number of conceptions of legal causation. “cause” that are merely pragmatic features of appropriate forcing him to do so (Coase 1960). to attribute responsibility) explain and/or justify such differences Combining These Three Sources into a Concept of Causation in the Law, 5.1 The variety of cause-in-fact tests in the law, 5.1.1 Problems for the counterfactual test of cause-in-fact, 5.1.2 Modifications/abandonments of the counterfactual test, 5.2 Skeptical approaches to the cause-in-fact requirement, 5.2.1 The skepticism about causation of the American Legal Realists, 5.2.2 The skepticism about causation of the Critical Legal Theorists, 5.2.3 The skepticism about causation of the legal economists, 5.3 The variety of proximate cause tests in the law, 5.4 Unified (or “one tier”) approaches to causation in the law, 5.5 Summary of the differing concepts of causation in the law, https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2019/entries/causation-law/. 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