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Law and NeuroscienceCurrent Legal Issues Volume 13$
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Michael Freeman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599844

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599844.001.0001

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Possible Legal Implications of Neural Mechanisms Underlying Ethical Behaviour

Possible Legal Implications of Neural Mechanisms Underlying Ethical Behaviour

(p.419) 22 Possible Legal Implications of Neural Mechanisms Underlying Ethical Behaviour
Law and Neuroscience

Donald Pfaff

Sandra Sherman

Oxford University Press

This chapter suggests that recent work in neuroscience pointing towards a physical/hormonal basis for moral reciprocity — the ‘do unto others’ dictum commonly called the Golden Rule — may have implications for how legal concepts have developed and should be applied. It starts from the assumption, however, that while neuroscience can now perhaps demonstrate that moral reciprocity is the product of how human brains have evolved, it would be facile to argue that the law simply reflects this evolution, and incorporates (or should incorporate) a ‘do unto others’ ideology into its basic, jurisprudential structure.

Keywords:   neuroscience, moral reciprocity, legal concepts, law

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