What Neuroscience Can (and Cannot) Tell Us about Criminal Responsibility

Walter Glannon

in Brain, Body, and Mind

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734092
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894475 | DOI:
What Neuroscience Can (and Cannot) Tell Us about Criminal Responsibility

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This chapter discusses how neuroscience, in the form of neuroimaging, can inform but not determine whether an individual has the requisite mental capacity to be responsible for criminal behavior. Brain dysfunction can be a matter of degree, and this may influence judgments of responsibility, mitigation, and excuse in the criminal law. In analyzing these judgments, the chapter distinguishes among lacking mental capacity, having partial capacity, and having full capacity but failing to exercise it. Behavioral criteria are necessary in addition to data from brain imaging to establish criminal responsibility.

Keywords: criminal intent; criminal negligence; excuse; impulsive behavior; mental capacity; mitigation; responsibility

Chapter.  11012 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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