‘Legal Theory Lexicon: Causation’

Causation is one of the basic conceptual tools of legal analysis. And for most purposes, we can get along with a notion of causation that is both vague and ambiguous. In the world of medium sized physical objects (automobiles, pedestrians, etc), our judgments about causation rarely depend on conceptual niceties. The driver’s negligence caused the death of the pedestrian but did not cause Barak Obama to win the Iowa caucuses in 2008. In these cases, various notions of causality converge. The person on the street, the scientist, and lawyer can all agree in such cases that for all practical purposes X caused Y but not Z. But sometimes the various notions of cause come apart exposing ambiguities and vagueness in both ordinary and legal talk about causes and effects. This post provides a very basic introduction to causation for law students (especially first-year law students) with an interest in legal theory …” (more)

[Lawrence Solum, Legal Theory Blog, 18 August]

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