Freewill and Responsibility
Routledge – 1978 – 102 pages
This reissue was first published in 1978. Anthony Kenny, one of the most distinguished philosophers in England, explores the notion of responsibility and the precise place of the mental element in criminal actions. Bringing the insights of recent philosophy of mind to bear on contemporary developments in criminal law, he writes with the general reader in mind, no specialist training in philosophy being necessary to appreciate his argument.
Kenny shows that abstract distinctions drawn by analytic philosophers are relevant to decisions in matters of life and death, and illustrates the philosophical argument throughout by reference to actual legal cases. The topics he covers are of wide general interest and include: mens rea and mental health, strict liability, freedom and determinism, duress and necessity, intoxication and irresistible impulse, intention and purpose, murder and rape, punishment and deterrence, witchcraft and supernatural beliefs.
'The book is full of crisp and lucid statement, as well as interesting examples and witty and sensible comment…it is a good example of philosophy applied in extraordinarily interesting material, and must provoke thought in the general reader.’ – Professor G.E.M. Anscombe.
1. The Mind and the Deed 2. Choice and Determinism 3. Purpose, Intention and Recklessness 4. Reason, Deterrence and Punishment.