Killing in the Heat of Passion

Marcia Baron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this essay I examine the provocation or "heat of passion" defense in law, with particular attention to the following questions: Is the defense a justification or an excuse? What is the rationale for having such a defense? Should there be such a defense? I reject the view that it is purely a partial excuse, and instead take it to be a hybrid--part excuse, part justification (and of course a partial rather than complete defense). After canvassing the reasons--and strong reasons they are--for abolishing the defense, I support retaining it, but only for cases in which the provocation was a clear and serious wrong. This reflects my emphasis on the justificatory component of the defense.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSetting the Moral Compass: Essays by Women Philosophers
EditorsChesire Calhoun
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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