‘Manifest Madness’: The Intersection of ‘Madness’ and Crime

Arlie Loughnan

in Manifest Madness

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698592
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738883 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Show Summary Details


This chapter analyses the terrain of mental incapacity, expanding the scholarly frame beyond the legal doctrines to encompass attendant legal practices concerning evidence and proof, enabling an examination of the deep features of the mental incapacity terrain. Here the label ‘manifest madness’, refers to the specific character of ‘madness’ at the point of intersection with crime. It is argued that ‘madness’ has two formal features, one ontological (whereby it is constructed as dispositional) and one epistemological (whereby it is constructed as ‘readable’). Together, these features constitute the topography of the mental incapacity terrain. As ‘dispositional’, ‘madness’ is regarded as subsisting and evident in conduct extending beyond the external component of the criminal offence; and, as ‘readable’, ‘madness’ can be ‘read off’ conduct by different participants in the criminal justice process. It is to capture this dual aspect of ‘madness’ for criminal law purposes that the adjective ‘manifest’ is used.

Keywords: criminal law; mental incapacity; madness; crime

Chapter.  14244 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.