Neuroimaging and Responsibility Assessments
Neuroethics, January 21, 2009
15 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2009 Last revised: 12 Mar 2011
Date Written: January 21, 2009
Could neuroimaging evidence help us to assess the degree of a person’s responsibility for a crime which we know that they committed? This essay defends an affirmative answer to this question. A range of standard objections to this high-tech approach to assessing people’s responsibility is considered and then set aside, but I also bring to light and then reject a novel objection - an objection which is only encountered when functional (rather than structural) neuroimaging is used to assess people’s responsibility.
Keywords: Moral responsibility, Legal responsibility, Capacity-theoretic conception of responsibility, Capacitarian theory of responsibility, Mental capacity, Capacity responsibility, Neuroimaging, fMRI, Modal fallacy, Automatic functions, Theory to the best explanation, Roper v Simmons
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