Identity, control and responsibility: The case of dissociative identity disorder

Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):509-526 (2002)
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is a condition in which a person appears to possess more than one personality, and sometimes very many. Some recent criminal cases involving defendants with DID have resulted in "not guilty" verdicts, though the defense is not always successful in this regard. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Stephen Behnke have argued that we should excuse DID sufferers from responsibility, only if at the time of the act the person was insane (typically delusional); otherwise the presumption should be that persons with DID are indeed responsible for their actions. We find their interpretation of DID and of the way in which the requirements for criminal insanity relate to this condition worrying and likely to result in injustice to DID sufferers. Our thesis is that persons with DID cannot be responsible for their actions if the usual features of the condition are present. A person with DID is a single person in the grip of a very serious mental disorder. By focusing on the features of DID which have, as we argue, the effect of deluding the patient, we try to show that such a person is unable to fulfill the ordinary conditions of responsible agency (namely, autonomy and self-control).
Keywords Control  Disorder  Identity  Responsibility  Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/0951508021000042???
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
J. David Velleman (1997). Deciding How to Decide. In Garrett Cullity & Berys Nigel Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford University Press 29--52.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

90 ( #36,775 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

14 ( #50,975 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.