Anger, provocation and loss of self-control: what does 'losing it' really mean?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on recent research in the philosophy of the emotions and empirical evidence from social psychology, this paper argues that the concept of loss of self-control at common law mischaracterises the relationship between the emotions and their effects on action. Emotions do not undermine reason in the ways offenders describe (and courts sometimes accept); nor do they compel people to act in ways they cannot control. As such, the idea of ‘loss of self-control’ is an inaccurate and misleading description of the psychological mechanisms at play in cases of emotionally motivated killing, where there may not be any ‘loss of self-control’ as such.

LanguageEnglish
Pages247–269
Number of pages23
JournalCriminal Law and Philosophy
Volume13
Issue number2
Early online date30 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

provocation
self-control
anger
emotion
common law
social psychology
offender
evidence
Self-control
Emotion
Anger

Keywords

  • Criminal defences
  • Emotions
  • Loss of self-control
  • Provocation

Cite this

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abstract = "Drawing on recent research in the philosophy of the emotions and empirical evidence from social psychology, this paper argues that the concept of loss of self-control at common law mischaracterises the relationship between the emotions and their effects on action. Emotions do not undermine reason in the ways offenders describe (and courts sometimes accept); nor do they compel people to act in ways they cannot control. As such, the idea of ‘loss of self-control’ is an inaccurate and misleading description of the psychological mechanisms at play in cases of emotionally motivated killing, where there may not be any ‘loss of self-control’ as such.",
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Anger, provocation and loss of self-control : what does 'losing it' really mean? / Sorial, Sarah.

In: Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol. 13, No. 2, 06.2019, p. 247–269.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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