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Criminally Ignorant – an invitation for broader evaluation
Jurisprudence  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-07-21, DOI: 10.1080/20403313.2021.1930370


Although there is much to commend in Sarch's Criminally Ignorant: Why the Law Pretends We Know What We Don't, in this piece, I invite Sarch to expand on his analysis by considering how English doctrine diverges from the US doctrine he takes as foundational, and raise some doubts by putting pressure on the theory of culpability that motivates his views on how ignorance supplies culpability. In particular, (a) I question his defence of a motive-insensitive theory of culpability, (b) set out some worries with Sarch's strategy of running theories of inculpation and exculpation together, and (c) suggest that he prematurely rejects motive-based explanations of why a person who is wilfully ignorant of an inculpatory proposition when performing the actus reus of a crime is as culpable as another who does the same thing with the requisite knowledge.