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The Neuroethics of BiomarkersWhat the Development of Bioprediction Means for Moral Responsibility, Justice, and the Nature of Mental Disorder$
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Matthew L. Baum

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190236267

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190236267.001.0001

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Reduced Responsibility

Reduced Responsibility

Distinguishing Conditions in Which Biomarkers Properly Reduce Legal Responsibility

(p.117) 7 Reduced Responsibility
The Neuroethics of Biomarkers

Matthew L. Baum

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the relevance of bioprediction to reductions in legal responsibility. The chapter responds to general objections in the context of neuroscience and law to the use of probabilistic information and probabilistic inferences from group data in criminal court by appealing to Bayesianism and the Probability Dysfunction concept of disorder. The chapter then suggests that one place that neural biomarkers may become relevant to criminal law is through legal structures that evoke the “reasonable man” standard, for example, in provocation. He argues that in cases where there is sufficient evidence that the likelihood of violent response is influenced by certain legally relevant mechanisms, such as increased emotional gravity of the provocation to the person, that biomarker evidence is probative to the legal issue in question. He answers these questions in the context of real-world cases in which testing was performed for a predictive biomarker, the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene-environment interaction.

Keywords:   criminal law, legal responsibility, provocation, MAOA, biomarkers, group data, Bayesianism, neuroscience, probability

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