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« PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU) | Main | "Neuroprediction: New Technology, Old Problems" »


Great posts you've been putting up!

In the United States, many jurisdictions allow for capital punishment of the most serious murderers. The death penalty can be thought of as a *very* severe and permanent violation of mental integrity. So even though it may not qualify as a neurocorrective, it is an example of a current form of punishment that clearly violates mental integrity through non-rational means. If one thinks capital punishment is a permissible punishment for some offenders (a view shared by a wide swath of U.S. voters and comparatively few academics), then one likely thinks severe neurocorrectives would also be permissible treatment for those same offenders. Some might think neurocorrection would be insufficiently punitive for the worst offenders, but consistency arguably dictates finding neurocorrection a permissible autonomy violation *if* death is permissible.

I look forward to your future posts (especially to see how you address the issue of consent to neurocorrectives in the arguably coercive environment of the criminal justice system).

Thanks Adam - I agree! Although, as your comment suggests, I should imagine that the authors who raise the point about mental integrity are unlikely to be in favour of capital punishment.

Interestingly, those who hold this view about mental integrity might even think that a neuro-intervention that radically changed an offender's moral outlook could amount to a perverse form of capital punishment, if it served to sever enough integral psychological continuities that undergird personal identity on broadly Lockean views of that latter concept; an offender's undergoing the intervention could be construed as a kind of death if it induced a radical enough change. Such a view could find some support in Nicole Vincent's comments on the effects of neuro-interventions on identity in the excellent paper of hers which I refer to above.

As you note, I will be addressing the punitive effects of the interventions and the possibility of valid consent in the arguably coercive environment of the criminal justice system in my next post, so I hope you find it interesting!

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