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Amanda Orbuch

Amanda Orbuch

Amanda Orbuch

Philosophy
"Why Kids Deserve Legal “Breaks”: On Moral Responsibility and Criminal Culpability"

Traditional scholarship—and general intuition— tells us that children are due a break in the eyes of the law because they are diminished in some capacity (or capacities) inherent to having full moral responsibility. But newer scholarship has challenged this notion, suggesting instead that our reason for giving kids a break does and should stem from a “reasons-responsiveness” model, wherein children are due leniency because they are disenfranchised and have reduced reasons to refrain from illegal activity. These two models— quality of will and reasons-responsiveness— represent just some of the theories for making sense of our policy of giving kids a break. In my paper, I aim to explore all of these potential bases for that social policy, attempting to offer a view on whether it is moral responsibility, responsiveness to reasons, a combination of the two, or something else altogether, that should underpin our giving kids a break. Put more simply, I aim to offer a fuller account of the principles and theories that ought to inform how we handle children within legal systems.