Brain Overclaim Syndrome and Criminal Responsibility: A Diagnostic Note

17 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2006  

Stephen Morse

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Abstract

This brief diagnostic note identifies a cognitive pathology, Brain Overclaim Syndrome [BOS], that often afflicts those inflamed by the fascinating new discoveries in the neurosciences. It begins by suggesting how one should think about the relation of neuroscience (or any other material explanation of human behavior) to criminal responsibility, distinguishing between internal and external critiques based on neuroscience. It then describes the signs and symptoms of BOS, the essential feature of which is to make claims about the implications of neuroscience for criminal responsibility that cannot be conceptually or empirically sustained. It then applies the diagnostic lens of BOS to the claims in Roper v. Simmons. Finally, the article recommends Cognitive Jurotherapy [CJ] as the therapy of choice for BOS.

Keywords: Brain Overclaim Syndrome, neuroscience, criminal responsibility, Roper v. Simmons, Cognitive Jurotherapy

Suggested Citation

Morse, Stephen, Brain Overclaim Syndrome and Criminal Responsibility: A Diagnostic Note. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 3, p. 397, 2006; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 06-35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=896753

Stephen J. Morse (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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