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« PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU) | Main | Minds, Brains, and Mental Disorders »


Amanda -- Very interesting post! I'll chime in on the last bit, especially this suggestion: "Doctrines that provide a degree of excuse for people with certain impairments should conform empirically to such impairments. Psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience ought to have some role in elucidating such impairments, as well as helping to inform lawmakers (and the culture more broadly) about the reasonable expectations one might have as to people with such impairments. To argue otherwise seems cynical, wasteful, or cruel."

As an empirical matter, I am not convinced that we know enough now, or will know enough in the near future, to make meaningful distinctions between individuals who "absolutely can't control", "have a tougher time controlling", "have the normal control level of" and "just don't want to control" their criminal behavior. If we can't make these distinctions, even for those labeled with a particular "impairment", can psych/neuro really give law much to be used for determining what we should reasonably expect of a particular defendant?

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