A Compatibilist Theory of Legal Responsibility

Nicole A. Vincent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Philosophical compatibilism reconciles moral responsibility with determinism, and some neurolaw scholars think that it can also reconcile legal views about responsibility with scientific findings about the neurophysiological basis of human action. Although I too am a compatibilist, this paper argues that philosophical compatibilism cannot be transplanted “as-is” from philosophy into law. Rather, before compatibilism can be re-deployed, it must first be modified to take account of differences between legal and moral responsibility, and between a scientific and a deterministic world view, and to address a range of conceptual, normative, empirical and doctrinal problems that orbit its capacitarian core.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-498
Number of pages22
JournalCriminal Law and Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Capacitarianism
  • Character
  • Compatibilism
  • Determinism
  • Free will
  • Neurolaw
  • Responsibility
  • Science


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