Seven Ways Neuroscience Aids Law
Neurosciences and the Human Person: New Perspectives on Human Activities (A. Battro, S. Dehaene & W. Singer, eds.) Scripta Varia 121, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, 2013, Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 15, 2013
Rapid advances in neuroscience have raised hopes in law, perhaps inevitably, that new techniques for revealing brain function may help to answer perennial questions about the sources, limits, and implications of human behavior, mental states, and psychology. As a consequence, lawyers have sharply increased proffers of neuroscientific evidence in both civil and criminal litigation, and have also invoked neuroscience as relevant to many doctrinal and policy reforms. These new developments make it essential for just legal systems to evaluate and separate legitimate from illegitimate uses of neuroscience. As part of that effort, this forthcoming essay identifies and illustrates seven distinct contexts in which neuroscience – skeptically evaluated but also carefully understood – can be useful to law. The essay is based on a talk delivered at The Vatican, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, November 2012.
Keywords: law, neuroscience, biology, behavioral biology, evidence, behavior, psychology
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