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The concept of imputation, so important for modern philosophy of law, was defined in the context of theological disputes on justification during the reformation.
Luther’s theory of justification by an extrinsecal justice implies that merit and demerit is received by or imposed to man by an external superior cause, even without reference to his own actions.
Suárez’ nominalistic theory of moral cause, on the other hand, permits to attribute sanction or reward to the single man, not according to the nature of his external action, but to the disposition of his will. Imputation of merits by authority according to internal states of the agent becomes then the center of a discourse on responsability.