Does the Law of Delict Have a Future? On Neuroscience and Liability
Essays in Honour of Johann Neethling, Durban 2015, pp. 451-457
10 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2015 Last revised: 29 Jul 2016
Date Written: February 17, 2015
‘Neurolaw’ is rapidly becoming one of the most fascinating fields at the intersection of law and science. The insights that neuroscientists provide us with on the functioning of the human brain are increasingly important to the law. The main reason for this is that the law is full of presumptions about how and why people act. These presumptions are increasingly questioned by neuroscientists, giving rise to what some have termed a ‘neuro-revolution’ in our thinking about the law. However, it is far from clear what the exact impact of neuro-scientific insights has to be. This contribution considers what the consequences may be for the law of delict. It is argued that neurolaw will not fundamentally change tort law because of the intrinsically normative approach of the law. However, this does not mean that neuro-scientific findings cannot be relevant in dealing with some specific questions in the law of delict. These questions are discussed.
Keywords: Neurolaw, Tort law
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