Legal Responsibility Adjudication and the Normative Authority of the Mind Sciences
Nicole A. Vincent
Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University; Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management
August 1, 2011
Philosophical Explorations, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 315-331, 2011
In the field of ‘neurolaw’, reformists claim that recent scientific discoveries from the mind sciences have serious ramifications for how legal responsibility should be adjudicated, but conservatives deny that this is so. In contrast, I criticise both of these polar opposite positions by arguing that although scientific findings can have often – weighty normative significance, they lack the normative authority with which reformists often imbue them. After explaining why conservatives and reformists are both wrong, I then offer my own moderate suggestions about what views we have reason to endorse. My moderate position reflects the familiar capacitarian idea which underlies much lay, legal, and philosophical thinking about responsibility – namely, that responsibility tracks mental capacity.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: responsibility, neurolaw, neuroscience, psychology, normative authorityAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 2, 2011
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