Saturday, July 15, 2006

Causality, Responsibility, and Blame

I have found no references in LEXIS or WESTLAW to the interesting paper Responsibility and Blame: A Structural-Model Approach (Nov. 6, 2003) by Hana Chockler & Joseph Y. Halpern.

Granted, the mathematical notation and symbolic logic are very difficult for amateurs like me. But this can't be the entire explanation for the seeming indifference of the legal academy: many law teachers now have advanced degrees. Furthermore, Chockler and Halpern use ordinary English and nifty examples to describe the gist of their thesis. So why the deafening silence in the legal academy? Consider: Halpern is one smart cookie. (The same is very probably true of Chockler!)

Perhaps the explanation is simple lack of serendipity: although the paper by Chockler and Halpern resides on Halpern's web site and has been in circulation for several years, it apparently has not yet been published in a peer review journal.

P.S. This post does not constitute an endorsement (or repudiation) of Halpern's theory of causality, explanation, responsibility, and blame. I am insufficiently familiar with Halpern's views either to endorse or reject them. But I would like to hear what thoughtful legal scholars think of Halpern's views of questions that seem to have a bearing on law.

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