On the Relevance of Neuroscience to Criminal Responsibility

Criminal Law and Philosophy, 2009

22 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2009 Last revised: 27 Jan 2010

See all articles by Nicole A. Vincent

Nicole A. Vincent

Georgia State University; Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management

Date Written: November 27, 2009

Abstract

Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label ‘‘neuroscience’’; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks — at least one for each responsibility concept — and, I will suggest, a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question.

Keywords: Responsibility, Neuroscience, Criminal law, Psychology, Neurolaw

Suggested Citation

Vincent, Nicole A., On the Relevance of Neuroscience to Criminal Responsibility (November 27, 2009). Criminal Law and Philosophy, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1519437

Nicole A. Vincent (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

HOME PAGE: http://nicolevincent.net

Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 5015
2600 GB Delft
Netherlands
+31654363692 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://nicolevincent.net/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
470
rank
55,795
Abstract Views
2,225
PlumX