Criminal Responsibility

Edited by Jennifer Radden

in The Philosophy of Psychiatry

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780195149531
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199870943 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

 Criminal Responsibility

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This chapter examines the relationship between criminal responsibility and mental disorders. It reviews the legal evolution of the concepts of criminal responsibility and mental excuses. It considers the realist, antirealist, and psychiatric/pragmatic approaches to criminal responsibility. It argues that psychiatrists involved in the assessment of responsibility seem to move between physical and intentional explanations for “bad” intentions. The physical fits more easily with the medical role but may not do justice to the claims of social processes. The intentional stance may fit better with a psychological approach to choices but may make it impossible for psychiatrists to avoid making moral judgments in the courtroom.

Keywords: mental disorders; intentions; mental excuses; realist; antirealist; psychiatric approach

Chapter.  7518 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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