Skip to main content

Please note: this event has passed

KJuris Seminar with Dr. Elinor Mason (Edinburgh)

Title: 'Negligence, Rape and Ideology'


In this paper I argue that negligence suitably understood,  can be a grounds for mens rea in rape cases. Moral responsibility theorists and legal theorists both worry about what negligence is, and how it might be a ground of blameworthiness.

A wilfully blind agent, one who deliberately ignores evidence that there is no consent, is clearly not exculpated by his ignorance. On the other hand, it is often thought that if a man’s belief in consent is reasonable in the circumstances, then he is not culpable. In this paper I argue that so far as the law is concerned, there is good reason to hold that even those who have ‘reasonable’ beliefs culpable. Having a reasonable belief in consent may be, but is not always exculpatory. I argue that we should understand negligence – not knowing something you should have known - in a moralized sense, so that people who are ignorant through being ideologically blinded can be held to have the mens rea requisite for rape conviction.

The King's Legal Philosophy Workshop, directed by Professor Lorenzo Zucca, Professor Massimo Renzo and Dr Ori Herstein is a forum devoted to discussing works in progress by today's leading legal philosophers and theorists as well as by promising younger talents from around the world. While our focus is philosophical and jurisprudential, we construe these terms broadly and welcome all rigorous methodological approaches to legal theory.

Anyone with a keen interest in Legal Philosophy is welcome, yet potential attendees should bear in mind that we prefer to commence substantive conversation as quickly as possible and do not allow for much by way of presentation from the guest. Taking a look at the paper in advance is, therefore, advisable.

Please register your attendance using the link. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the workshops will be held in The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, Somerset House East Wing, Strand.

Event details

SW1.17, Somerset House East Wing
Somerset House East Wing
Strand Campus, Strand, London WC2R 2LS