Legal responsibility adjudication and the normative authority of the mind sciences

Nicole A. Vincent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


In the field of 'neurolaw', reformists claim that recent scientific discoveries from the mind sciences have serious ramifications for how legal responsibility should be adjudicated, but conservatives deny that this is so. In contrast, I criticise both of these polar opposite positions by arguing that although scientific findings can have often-weighty normative significance, they lack the normative authority with which reformists often imbue them. After explaining why conservatives and reformists are both wrong, I then offer my own moderate suggestions about what views we have reason to endorse. My moderate position reflects the familiar capacitarian idea which underlies much lay, legal, and philosophical thinking about responsibility-namely, that responsibility tracks mental capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-331
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical Explorations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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