Legal Responsibility Adjudication and the Normative Authority of the Mind Sciences
Philosophical Explorations, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 315-331, 2011
17 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 1, 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.
Keywords: responsibility, neurolaw, neuroscience, psychology, normative authority
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation