On the relevance of neuroscience to criminal responsibility

Nicole A. Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label "neuroscience"; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks-at least one for each responsibility concept-and, I will suggest, a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-98
Number of pages22
JournalCriminal Law and Philosophy
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2009. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Criminal law
  • Neurolaw
  • Neuroscience
  • Responsibility

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