Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Voluntary Acts, Psychology Of
There is a deeply rooted and widely held moral intuition to the effect that a person is responsible only for what he does voluntarily. This intuition is the basis for doctrines of both criminal law and tort law. Although most forms of liability in criminal law or in tort rest on some form of culpability or fault (such as purpose, knowledge, recklessness, or negligence), strict liability crimes or torts require only a voluntary act or omission of a specified type. In criminal law, the prosecution has traditionally been required to prove that the defendant performed an actus reus (voluntary conduct) with a certain mens rea (guilty state of mind), and that this voluntary conduct caused the proscribed harm to the victim or constituted the proscribed type of behavior. Courts hold individuals liable in tort for conduct that causes harm intentionally, negligently, or in strict liability. That conduct may take the ...