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  

Nicole A. Vincent

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

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

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

Vincent, Nicole A., Legal Responsibility Adjudication and the Normative Authority of the Mind Sciences (August 1, 2011). Philosophical Explorations, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 315-331, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1903381

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/

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