The Guilty Mind


  • William E. Mann University of Vermont



The doctrine of mens rea can be expressed in this way: MRP: If A is culpable for performing φ, then A performs φ intentionally in circumstances in which it is impermissible to perform φ. The Sermon on the Mount suggests the following principle: SMP: If A intends to perform φ in circumstances in which it would be impermissible for A to perform φ, then A’s intending to perform φ makes A as culpable as A would be were A to perform φ. MRP and SMP are principles representative of intentionalism, a family of views that emphasizes the importance of intention to judgments about culpability. This essay examines an intentionalist’s defense of MRP with respect to lying, strict criminal liability, and the distinction between intention and foreseeability, along with a defense of SMP with respect to failed attempts, and self-defense. 




How to Cite

Mann, William E. 2009. “The Guilty Mind”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 1 (1):41-63.



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