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Print version ISSN 1405-0218


MANRIQUE, María Laura. Willful Blindness and Criminal Responsibility. Isonomía [online]. 2014, n.40, pp.163-195. ISSN 1405-0218.

In this paper I show that contemporary criminal law has not yet found an adequate response to the normative and conceptual difficulties raised by willful blindness. In general, these problems stem from the use of a mistaken strategy: to analyze willful blindness in terms of dolus eventualis. This conceptual resource attempts to provide a justification for a severe punishment; a type of punishment paradigmatically attached to intentional crimes. However, this strategy fails because dolus eventualis mainly requires knowledge. For this reason, I suggest that, sometimes, willful blindness could be better understood as a specification of legal fraud. In these occasions, willful blindness is rightly seen as something more serious than mere negligence.

Keywords : willful blindness; mistake; negligence; dolus.

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