On the Nature of Psychopathy
The Neurobiology of Social Disruption: International Perspectives of Psychiatry, Pathology and Society, Fabrice Jotterand and James Giodorno, eds., Potomic Institute Press, 2013
16 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 4, 2012
The primary goal of this essay is to clarify the concept of psychopathy and distinguish it from other, related, concepts. We contend that the paradigmatic trait of psychopathy is a propensity to violence that is accompanied by a lack of conscience. We also argue that conceptual clarity on this point is important for devising empirical criteria for identifying psychopaths. We also argue that a full theory of psychopathy will require one to utilize theories and assumptions that pertain to central issues in meta-ethics.
Keywords: psychopath, sociopath, conscience, mental illness, RD Hare, DSM
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