Failed Agency and the Insanity Defence

In this article I argue that insanity defences such as M’Nagten should be abolished in favour of a defence of failed agency. It is not insanity per se, or any other empirical condition, which constitutes the moral reason for exculpation. Rather, we should first recognize the conditions for being a responsible moral agent. These include some capacity to direct and control one’s behavior, a non-delusional component, and the capacity to recognize that one’s behavior is expressive of what they have reason to be doing. When either of these fail in a case involving alleged criminal behavior the defence of failed agency may be appealed to. There may be many causes, including and besides insanity, that give rise to use of the defence of failed agency.
Keywords Agency  Insanity Defence  Responsibility
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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 Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,707
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

Added to index


Total downloads


Recent downloads (6 months)


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.