Do We Need a Doctrine of Complicity?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



One of the many provocative claims made in Michael Moore’s path-breaking book Causation and Responsibility is that once the concept of causation is properly interpreted, criminal law will be able to dispense with the doctrine of complicity. All accomplices who deserve to be held responsible can be held responsible under a suitably reformed causal approach. This chapter seeks to explore whether that really holds true by examining cases of coordination and drawing on cooperative utilitarianism. Ultimately, this chapter suggests that there is in fact a range of quite interesting cases in which only a doctrine of complicity can achieve the desired result.


responsibility, criminal law, cooperative utilitarianism, complicity, causation

Publication Title

Legal, Moral, and Metaphysical Truths: The Philosophy of Michael S. Moore