Neuroscience and Legal Responsibility

Hardcover | February 19, 2013

EditorNicole A. Vincent

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How should neuroscience, psychology and behavioral genetics impact legal responsibility practices?Recent findings from these fields are sometimes claimed to threaten the moral foundations of legal responsibility practices by revealing that determinism, or something like it, is true. On this account legal responsibility practices should be abolished because there is no room for such outmodedfictions as responsibility in an enlightened and scientifically-informed approach to the regulation of society.However, the chapters in this volume reject this claim and its related agenda of radical legal reform. Embracing instead a broadly compatibilist approach - one according to which responsibility hinges on psychological features of agents not on metaphysical features of the universe - this volume'sauthors demonstrate that the behavioral and mind sciences may impact legal responsibility practices in a range of different ways, for instance: by providing fresh insight into the nature of normal and pathological human agency, by offering updated medical and legal criteria for forensicpractitioners as well as powerful new diagnostic and intervention tools and techniques with which to appraise and to alter minds, and by raising novel regulatory challenges.Science and law have been locked in a philosophical dialogue on the nature of human agency ever since the 13th century when a mental element was added to the criteria for legal responsibility. The rich story told by the 14 essays in this volume testifies that far from ending this philosophicaldialogue, neuroscience, psychology and behavioral genetics have the potential to further enrich and extend this dialogue.

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How should neuroscience, psychology and behavioral genetics impact legal responsibility practices?Recent findings from these fields are sometimes claimed to threaten the moral foundations of legal responsibility practices by revealing that determinism, or something like it, is true. On this account legal responsibility practices should...

Nicole A Vincent is Research Fellow, Philosophy at Macquarie University Australia and Chief Investigator of the Enhancing Responsibility Project based at Delft University of Technology.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:February 19, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199925607

ISBN - 13:9780199925605

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Table of Contents

1. Nicole A. Vincent: Introduction2. Stephen J. Morse: Criminal Common Law Compatibilism3. Anne Ruth Mackor: What can neurosciences say about responsibility? Taking the distinction between theoretical and practical reason seriously4. Jillian Craigie and Alicia Coram: Irrationality, mental capacities and neuroscience5. Paul Sheldon Davies: Skepticism Concerning Human Agency: Sciences of the Self vs. 'Voluntariness' in the Law6. Leora Dahan-Katz: The Implications of Heuristics and Biases Research on Moral and Legal Responsibility: A Case Against the Reasonable Person Standard7. Neil Levy: Moral Responsibility and Consciousness: Two Challenges, One Solution8. Katrina L. Sifferd: Translating Scientific Evidence into the Language of the 'Folk': Executive Function as Capacity-Responsibility9. Colin Gavaghan: Neuroscience, deviant appetites and the criminal law10. Thomas Nadelhoffer and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: Is Psychopathy a Mental Disease?11. Jeanette Kennett: Addiction, choice, and disease: How voluntary is voluntary action in addiction?12. Wayne Hall and Adrian Carter: How may neuroscience affect the way that the criminal courts deal with addicted offenders?13. Nicole A. Vincent: Enhancing Responsibility14. Christoph Bublitz and Reinhard Merkel: Guilty Minds in Washed Brains? Manipulation Cases, Excuses and the Normative Prerequisites of Liberal Legal Orders