Thank you Adam for inviting me to guest post on your fantastic blog. My name is Andrew Vierra, and I am a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Hamburg Department of Law in Germany where I research psychopathy and criminal law. While I have this excellent platform, I plan on doing a series of posts on the question “What is psychopathy?”
At first glance, the question seems simple enough. Indeed, we have handy and widely used diagnostic tools like The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) that provide definitions.
But the scientific, philosophical, and legal literature is full of disagreements and inconsistencies. For example, there is no consensus on whether psychopathy is a mental disorder. Some, like Nicole Vincent, suggest that psychopaths may just be bad people--a sharp turn from the DSM-5 or PCL-R. Others, like Friedrich Nietzsche, argue that it may be the people who (unlike psychopaths) experience guilt that are sick.
I’ll start with a post overviewing the DSM-5 and PCL-R. Next, I’ll follow up with a few posts on whether psychopathy is a mental disorder. Finally, I’ll look at amazing new research that suggests that chimpanzees can be psychopaths and explore some of the implications of psychopathic chimps. I may also post on current events that catch my attention if, like last week, they pertain to neurolaw. I’m also very open to posting on topics that readers find interesting--just let me know =)