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NeuroethicsDefining the issues in theory, practice, and policy$
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Judy Illes

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567219.001.0001

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Moral and legal responsibility and the new neuroscience

Moral and legal responsibility and the new neuroscience

Chapter:
(p.33) Chapter 3 Moral and legal responsibility and the new neuroscience
Source:
Neuroethics
Author(s):

Stephen J. Morse

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567219.003.0003

This chapter argues that neuroscience is largely irrelevant if the concept of responsibility is properly understood and evaluated. It begins with a positive description of the dominant conception of personhood and responsibility in Western law and morality. It then considers and rejects the challenge to this conception that any materialist scientific understanding of behavior, including neuroscientific explanation, creates. It argues that unless brain science evolves to such a stage that it radically undermines current conceptions of personhood, the brain will largely be irrelevant to ascriptions of moral and legal responsibility. The chapter concludes by returning to Roper and suggesting the proper way that the case should be argued.

Keywords:   neuroscience, responsibility, decision making, personhood, brain science

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