Document Type


Publication Date



In this book chapter we give a definition of inchoate crimes and argue that inchoate crimes, so defined, are not culpable and do not deserve punishment. Our argument against the culpability of inchoate crimes is based on several points: the ability of the actor who intends a future act that might be culpable if performed to change his mind prior to the act’s performance; the conditionality of all future-oriented intentions; uncertainty regarding the culpability-enhancing or culpability-mitigating circumstances that will exist at the future time of performance; and the roles of vacillation and duration in assessing culpability. We argue that punishment for inchoate crimes should be regarded as preventive rather than retributive


risk, culpability, inchoate crimes, prevention

Publication Citation

In Seeking Security: Pre-empting the Commission of Criminal Harms (G.R. Sullivan & Ian Dennis eds., Hart 2012)