The Concept of Entrapment

Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (4):539-554 (2018)
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Abstract

Our question is this: What makes an act one of entrapment? We make a standard distinction between legal entrapment, which is carried out by parties acting in their capacities as (or as deputies of) law- enforcement agents, and civil entrapment, which is not. We aim to provide a definition of entrapment that covers both and which, for reasons we explain, does not settle questions of permissibility and culpability. We explain, compare, and contrast two existing definitions of legal entrapment to commit a crime that possess this neutrality. We point out some problems with the extensional correctness of these definitions and propose a new definition that resolves these problems. We then extend our definition to provide a more general definition of entrapment, encompassing both civil and legal cases. Our definition is, we believe, closer to being extensionally correct and will, we hope, provide a clearer basis for future discussions about the ethics of entrapment than do the definitions upon which it improves.

Author Profiles

Attila Tanyi
University of Tromsø
Daniel Hill
University of Liverpool
Stephen K. McLeod
University of Liverpool

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