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Neuroscience and Legal Responsibility$
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Nicole A. Vincent

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199925605

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199925605.001.0001

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What Can Neurosciences Say About Responsibility?Taking the Distinction Between Theoretical and Practical Reason Seriously 1

What Can Neurosciences Say About Responsibility?Taking the Distinction Between Theoretical and Practical Reason Seriously 1

Chapter:
(p.53) 3 What Can Neurosciences Say About Responsibility?Taking the Distinction Between Theoretical and Practical Reason Seriously1
Source:
Neuroscience and Legal Responsibility
Author(s):

Anne Ruth Mackor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199925605.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the question what neurosciences can say about responsibility. First I argue that the claim that neurosciences can show the practices of holding oneself and others responsible to be untenable or at least pointless is self-contradictory. Next I discuss the question whether neurosciences might change the conception of responsibility. I argue that although neurosciences do not have a ‘final say’ on this matter, they can offer viable arguments for and against changing the conception as well as for and against applying the conception to particular persons or categories of persons. Finally, I argue that neuroscientific findings do not necessarily result in a reduction of the category (and number) of people we can hold responsible. On the contrary, neuroscientific findings might just as well have the opposite result. Via a construction of culpa in causa, they might result in hyper-responsibility.

Keywords:   responsibility, accountability, free will, neurosciences, theoretical reason, practical reason, concepts, conceptions

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