"An American psychologist, Daniel N. Robinson, traces the development of the insanity plea...[He offers] an assured historical survey." Roy Porter, The Times [UK] "Wild Beasts and Idle Humours is truly unique. It synthesizes material that I do not believe has ever been considered in this context, and links up the historical past with contemporaneous values and politics. Robinson effortlessly weaves religious history, literary history, medical history, and political history, and demonstrates how the insanity defense cannot be fully understood (...) without consideration of all these sources." Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School "Daniel N. Robinson has written a graceful history of insanity and the law stretching from Homer to Hinckley. He attempts no final theory as to how the law should cope with the insane; he seeks, rather, to use the shifting notions of when madness exculpates criminal activity to illuminate the core self-perceptions of the cultures developing ever-evolving resolutions of the problem...[T]he grandeur of the theme...commands attention and respect." --Neal Johnston, The Nation . (shrink)
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. (shrink)
I distinguish three evolutionary explanations of mental illness: first, breakdowns in evolved computational systems; second, evolved systems performing their evolutionary function in a novel environment; third, evolved personality structures. I concentrate on the second and third explanations, as these are distinctive of an evolutionary psychopathology, with progressively less credulity in the light of the empirical evidence. General morals are drawn for evolutionary psychiatry.
This paper attempts to set forth, in the context of Anglo-U.S. criminal law, the meaning of the concept of insanity, its necessary relation to absence of responsibility, and its bearing on some relevant psychiatric concepts and legal controversies. Irrationality is a distinctive and necessary (but not sufficient) condition for insanity. Irrationality consists in failure even to grasp the relevance of what is 'essentially' relevant. To that extent there obviously can be no responsibility. A mental makeup which renders one (...) (who would not normally be so) substantially incapable of rational conduct constitutes insanity, and in that respect renders the person non-responsible. Much more broadly and roughly speaking, the mind that is ill is the mind that is irrational (and hence in that respect non-responsible). (shrink)
The determinative issue in applying the insanity defense is whether the defendant experienced a legally relevant functional impairment at the time of the offense. Categorical exclusion of personality disorders from the definition of mental disease is clinically and morally arbitrary because it may lead to unfair conviction of a defendant with a personality disorder who actually experienced severe, legally relevant impairments at the time of the crime. There is no need to consider such a drastic approach in most states (...) and in the federal courts, where the sole test of insanity is whether the defendant was “unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the offense.” This is because the only symptoms that are legally relevant in such jurisdictions are those that impair reality-testing and thereby affect the person's capacity to understand the nature and consequences of her actions. However, if the test of insanity includes a “volitional prong” (inability to control one's behavior), some way must be found to limit the scope of the defense to the core cases (involving psychotic conditions) to which it has traditionally been applied, and to prevent a shift toward a deterministic account of criminal conduct — i.e., “people can't help being who they are and doing what they do.” The best way of accomplishing this is to limit the definition of mental disease to severe disorders characterized by gross disturbances of the person's capacity to understand reality. (shrink)
The traditional legal verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity as well as the more recent verdict of guilty but mentally ill rest on often unquestioned epistemological assumptions about human behavior and its causes, unjustified reliance on forensic psychiatrists, and questionable, if not deplorable ethical standards. This paper offers a critique of legal perspectives on insanity, historical and current, based on the altermative epistemological and ethical assumptions of Thomas S. Szasz. In addition, we examine Szasz''s unique rhetorical (...) analysis of mental illness and its implications for forensic psychiatry. (shrink)
Insanity is identified with irrationality, while rationality is considered to be the mark of sanity. Yet we want to say that rationality could be the cause of insanity. We can see a subtle kind of insanity inherent in an institution believed to be highly rational. Rationality in an ideological belief also turns into rational insanity when the ideology itself works for the interest of the advantaged as a tool of deception. We believe in the rationality of (...) open communication. We believe that information technology has given us the most rational means for open communication. The Internet revolution or Internet democracy is expected to become the most rational means for the institutional goal of democracy. However the rationality of Internet communication has demonstrated a serious tendency to cause Internet insanity. We have been proud of being 'rational animals'. But now we are concerned because 'rational animal' could mean 'rational but animal-like' or 'rational but impulsive', which in turn could mean 'rational but violent' or 'rational but mad and insane'. Perhaps it is time for us to think seriously about the possibility of mass insanity through rational insanity, and seek the way beyond such rational insanity. (shrink)
My intent is to paint in rather broad strokes Bill Poteat’s intellectual agenda, as I came to understand it, and how Michael Polanyi fit into that agenda for Poteat alongside other major intellectual mentors. Bill’s agenda was to expose critically and, so far as possible, to counter the fateful consequences of what he called the “prepossessions of the European Enlightenment” regarding human knowing, human doing, and human being. Although his work involved conceptual analysis, the nature of this conceptual-archaeology was far (...) more profound than what usually goes by the name “conceptual analysis” or “cultural conceptual analysis.” In effect it sought first to bring to light how the conceptual resources by which modern intellectuals reflectively consider anything, fatefully result in a state of self-abstractedness – indeed, a kind of culturally constituted insanity – that loses touch with the actual, concrete object of one’s concern, with one’s actual concrete self, and with the wellsprings of one’s intellectual passion and creativity. Second, Bill sought to cure this cultural insanity, person by person, by ushering his students and readers into re-placement of themselves into themselves, in possession of themselves, within the concrete context of their embodied personhood. Poteat called attention to the way that our powers of reflection quite systematically forget their contextual rootedness in this (multi-leveled) cultural matrix and, beneath that, in our lived bodies – ultimately in our personhood. Polanyi served to assist Poteat (and his students) in this endeavor, I believe, as much as, or more than, did any other of Poteat’s several intellectual mentors. (shrink)
Susan Wolf objects to the Real Self View (RSV) of moral responsibility that it is insufficient, that even if one’s actions are expressions of one’s deepest or “real” self, one might still not be morally responsible for one’s actions. As a counterexample to the RSV, Wolf offers the case of JoJo, the son of a dictator, who endorses his father’s (evil) values, but who is insane and is thus not responsible for his actions. Wolf’s data for this conclusion derives from (...) what she takes to be our “pretheoretic intuitions” about JoJo. As it turns out, though, experimental data on actual pretheoretic intuitions does not seem to support Wolf’s claim. In this paper, we present such data and argue that, at least with respect to this particular objection, the RSV can survive Wolf’s attack intact. (shrink)
The paper describes the refusal of the liberal community to assert the right of persons accused of mental illness to be free of coercive psychiatric intrusion. It suggests that the penchant for benevolent governmental intrusion into other social problems may be at fault and recommends that intervention be abandoned in favor of a return to human autonomy as a basis of the concept of freedom.
The psychopathic personality disorder historically has been thought to include an insensitivity to morality. Some have thought that the psychopath's insensitivity indicates that he does not understand morality, but the relationship between the psychopath's defects and moral understanding has been unclear. We attempt to clarify this relationship, first by arguing that moral understanding is incomplete without concern for morality, and second, by showing that the psychopath demonstrates defects in frontal lobe activity which indicate impaired attention and adaptation to environmental conditions (...) which are relevant to the formation of complex intentions. We argue that these frontal lobe defects can help to explain both the psychopath's apparent insensitivity to morality and his characteristic imprudence. (shrink)
This chapter identifies and explores a series of challenges raised by the clinical concept of delusion for theories which conceive autonomy as an agency rather than a status concept. The first challenge is to address the autonomy-impairing nature of delusions consistently with their role as grounds for full legal and ethical excuse, on the one hand, and psychopathological significance as key symptoms of psychoses, on the other. The second challenge is to take into account the full logical range of delusions, (...) which may take the form of true or false factual beliefs, positive or negative evaluations, as well as the paradoxical delusion of mental illness. The third and final challenge is to make room for non-pathological or, autonomy-preserving delusions and to offer a credible way of distinguishing between these and pathological or, autonomy-impairing delusions. By setting out these challenges, we are able to, firstly, distinguish between two separate conceptions of objectivity that may be at work in existing accounts of delusions and, secondly, to put a spotlight on an elusive yet inescapable notion of agential success that underlies our thinking about autonomy as well as mental disorder. (shrink)
It is common for philosophers to argue that psychopaths are not morally responsible because they lack some of the essential capacities for morality. In legal terms, they are criminally insane. Typically, however, the insanity defense is not available to psychopaths. The primary reason is that they appear to have the knowledge and understanding required under the M’Naghten Rules. However, it has been argued that what is required for moral and legal responsibility is ‘deep’ moral understanding, something that psychopaths do (...) not have either due to their lacking empathy or practical reason. In the first part of the paper, I argue that psychopaths do not lack the abilities required for deep moral understanding, although they have deficits in those areas. According the M’Naghten Rules, therefore, psychopaths are not insane. Under a less strict formulation of the insanity plea, like the Model Penal Code, however, there is a good case to be made for their lacking substantial capacity. I argue that because psychopathy is an essentially moral disorder, and because of the nature of psychopathic violence, psychopaths should not be excused under the insanity plea. It would be tantamount to excusing someone for committing a crime because they are bad. Arguably, this contravenes the entire system of law. (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce’s theory of proper names bears helpful insights for how we might think about his understanding of persons. Persons, on his view, are continuities, not static objects. I argue that Peirce’s notion of the legisign, particularly proper names, sheds light on the habitual and conventional elements of what it means to be a person. In this paper, I begin with an account of what philosophers of language have said about proper names in order to distinguish Peirce’s theory of (...) proper names from them. Then, I present Peirce’s semiotic theory of proper names, followed by some ways in which his theory can be applied to practical concerns, such as first impressions, name changing, identity, and temporary insanity. (shrink)
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). (shrink)
0. My aims in this paper are largely expository: I am more interested in presenting the picture theory than deciding its truth. Even so, I hope that the arguments by which I develop the theory will do something to support it, since I believe that what I will present as Wittgenstein's view is indeed the truth. This is not an admission of insanity, though some things that have been thought intrinsic to the picture theory are things it would be (...) insane to believe. So clearly the view I will present, when compared to the most embracing interpretations, is a partial and selective one. It would be another kind of madness, one I am just as eagre to disown, to suppose that my own favoured selection is the only possible one. That is pretty well the last remark in this paper about other commentators. I trust my reticence entitles me to be presumed catholic until proven nonconformist. (shrink)
Psychopaths are the bugbears of moral philosophy. They are often used as examples of perfectly rational people who are nonetheless willing to do great moral wrong without regret; hence the disorder has received the epithet “moral insanity” (Pritchard 1835). But whereas philosophers have had a great deal to say about psychopaths’ glaring and often horrifying lack of moral conscience, their aesthetic capacities have received hardly any attention, and are generally assumed to be intact or even enhanced. Popular culture often (...) portrays psychopaths in ways that suggest a great gap between their amorality and their aesthetic sensitivity. In The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), Hannibal Lecter appreciates fine art, fashion, and wine, while he eats his way through his enemies. His real-life counterparts, however, do not demonstrate the same sensitivities. There is no evidence that psychopaths are capable of real aesthetic appreciation, and some evidence that they are not. In this paper, we set out the limited evidence for the psychopath’s deficient aesthetic sensitivity. The best explanations of what the psychopath lacks turn out to implicate abilities that are also thought to be central to moral thought and action: an impaired capacity for empathizing with others and deficient ability to take a disinterested attitude towards things (socalled distance). We endorse the latter explanation. Thinking about what underlies the psychopath’s deficient aesthetic understanding turns out to throw light on a difficult problem: the connection between ethics and aesthetics. (shrink)
One clear reason why human agents often act badly is because they are insufficiently attentive to moral considerations and concerns, or tempted to ignore these in pursuit of more immediate satisfactions. In so far as madness, insanity or mental instability may be regarded as undermining moral agency, it might also be supposed that such madness attaches more to the non-moral than the moral reasons or motives of agents. Still, the well-known quote from Chesterton at the start of this paper (...) may give pause to conventional thought on this matter. With reference to the ideas of Plato and Freud, as well as attention to literary and cinematic "case studies," this paper argues that moral reasons and motives – of an apparently Chestertonian kind – may be a prime source of morally "insane" conduct. (shrink)
The status quo: dogmatism, the biopsychosocial model, and alternatives -- What there is: of mind and brain -- How we know: understanding the mind -- What is scientific method? -- Reading Karl Jaspers's General Psychopathology -- What is scientific method in psychiatry? -- Darwin's dangerous method: the essentialist fallacy -- What we value: the ethics of psychiatry -- Desire and self: Hellenistic and Islamic approaches -- On the nature of mental illness: disease or myth? -- Order out of chaos: from (...)insanity to DSM-III to a pluralistic nosology -- A theory of DSM-IV: ideal types -- Dimensions versus categories -- The perils of belief: psychosis -- The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune: depression -- Life's rollercoaster: mania -- Being self-aware: insight -- Calvinism or hedonism? -- Truth and statistics: problems of empirical psychiatry -- A climate of opinion: what remains of psychoanalysis -- Being there: existential psychotherapy -- Beyond eclecticism: teaching psychotherapy in the twenty-first century -- Bridging the biology/psychology dichotomy: the hopes of integrationism -- Why it is hard to be pluralist. (shrink)
In 1951, entomologist Jay Traver published in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington her personal experiences with a mite infestation of her scalp that resisted all treatment and was undetectable to anyone other than herself. Traver is recognized as having suffered from Delusory Parasitosis: her paper shows her to be a textbook case of the condition. The Traver paper is unique in the scientific literature in that its conclusions may be based on data that was unconsciously fabricated by (...) the author’s mind. The paper may merit retraction on the grounds of error or even scientific misconduct “by reason of insanity,” but such a retraction raises the issue of discrimination against the mentally ill. This article asks what responsibilities journals have when faced with delusions disguised as science, what right editors have to question the sanity of an author, and what should be done about the Traver paper itself. By placing higher emphasis on article content than author identity, scientific integrity is maintained and a balance is struck between avoiding discrimination against the mentally ill and not preventing patients from seeking needed treatment. (shrink)
The McNaughton rules for determining whether a person can be successfully defended on the grounds of mental incompetence were determined by a committee of the House of Lords in 1843. They arose as a consequence of the trial of Daniel McNaughton for the killing of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel’s secretary. In retrospect it is clear that McNaughton suffered from schizophrenia. The successful defence of McNaughton on the grounds of mental incompetence by his advocate Sir Alexander Cockburn involved a profound (...) shift in the criteria for such a defence, and was largely based on the then recently published scientific thesis of the great US psychiatrist Isaac Ray, entitled A Treatise on the Medical Jurisprudence of Insanity. Subsequent discussion of this defence in the House of Lords led to the McNaughton rules, still the basis of the defence of mental incompetence in the courts of much of the English-speaking world. This essay considers one of these rules in the light of the discoveries of cognitive neuroscience made during the 160 years since Ray’s treatise. A major consideration is the relationship between the power of self-control and irresistible impulse as conceived by Cockburn on the one hand, and by cognitive neuroscience on the other. The essay concludes with an analysis of the notion of free will and of the extent to which a subject can exert restraint in the absence of particular synaptic connections in the brain. (shrink)
Descartes’s First Meditation employs a series of arguments designed to generate the worry that the senses might not provide sufficient evidence to justify one’staking as certain one’s beliefs about the way the world is. As the meditator considers what principle describes the conditions under which it is possible to attain certain knowledge, one after another doubt-generating device is ushered in, until at last he finds himself like someone caught in a whirlpool, able neither to stand firm nor to swim out. (...) In this paper, I examine one of those devices, namely, what is often referred to as the Madness Argument. In particular, I want to discuss its relation to the Dream Argument and its function in the Meditations as a whole. My position stands in contrast to the interpretations of Anthony Kenny, Margaret Wilson, Michael Williams, and, more recently, Janet Broughton and Catherine Wilson. (shrink)
This article argues in support of the proposition that “A Personality Disorder May Nullify Responsibility for a Criminal Act.” Building upon research in categorical and dimensional controversies in diagnosis, neurocognitive science and the behavioral genetics of mental disorders, and difficulties in differential diagnosis and co-morbidity with personality disorders, this article holds that a per se rule barring personality diagnosis as a basis for a defense of legal insanity is scientifically and conceptually indefensible. Rather, focus should be upon the severity (...) and impact in specific cases of any legally relevant functional deficits arising from a mental disorder (including personality disorders). Failure to do so risks potentially misleading “battles of the experts” about a defendant's diagnosis in criminal responsibility defenses and improper usurpation of the role of the legal finder of fact as mental health expert witnesses are inserted as gatekeepers indefensibly based upon diagnosis. Implications for practice and public policy are considered, including a “modest proposal” for post-trial management of defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity on the basis of functional deficits arising from personality disorder. (shrink)
In this analysis of Marcia Baronâs account of excuses, I seek to do twothings. I try to draw out the nature of the distinction between forgivingand excusing. I also defend the distinction between excuses (like duress),and denials of responsibility (like insanity).
This paper suggests that late nineteenth-century definitions of self-mutilation, a new category of psychiatric symptomatology, were heavily influenced by the use of self-injury as a rhetorical device in the novel, for the literary text held a high status in Victorian psychology. In exploring Dimmesdale’s “self-mutilation” in The Scarlet Letter in conjunction with psychiatric case histories, the paper indicates a number of common techniques and themes in literary and psychiatric texts. As well as illuminating key elements of nineteenth-century conceptions of the (...) self, and the relation of mind and body through ideas of madness, this exploration also serves to highlight the social commentary implicit in many Victorian medical texts. Late nineteenth-century England, like mid-century New England, required the individual to help himself and, simultaneously, others; personal charity and individual philanthropy were encouraged, while state intervention was often presented as dubious. In both novel and psychiatric text, self-mutilation is thus presented as the ultimate act of selfish preoccupation, particularly in cases on the “borderlands” of insanity. (shrink)
The mystery does not always end when the crime has been solved. Indeed, the most insolvable problems of crime and punishment are not so much who committed the crime, but how to see that justice is done. Now, in this illuminating volume, one of America's great legal thinkers, Norval Morris, addresses some of the most perplexing and controversial questions of justice in a highly singular fashion--by examining them in fictional form, in what he calls "parables of the law." The protagonist (...) of these stories, the figure who must see that justice is done, is Eric Blair, a name familiar to most readers: it's the real name of George Orwell. In fact, Morris has set his tales in the time and place of Orwell's famous essay, "Shooting an Elephant," in Moulmein, Burma, in the 1920s. What might seem a curious strategy at first glance--borrowing Orwell's persona to narrate these tales--is actually a brilliant stroke. For in Eric Blair we have an ideal narrator to highlight the complexities of justice: an untrained police lieutenant and junior magistrate, uncertain of judgement--and all the more likely to anguish over judgement, and to examine every facet of a case before deciding. And in 1920s Moulmein we have a neutral time and space in which to consider--free of our own political, religious, or social prejudices--a set of contemporary legal and moral questions that rarely find so calm an arena. And these stories certainly address some highly charged issues--capital punishment, insanity as a murder defense, the "battered wife syndrome" as a murder defense, child custody, "parental neglect" due to religious conviction--to name a few. In each tale, Norval Morris excels at placing Blair at the center of a controversy that has no easy answer, and that he and he alone must decide. In the title story, for instance, a retarded boy, whose only understanding of sex comes from the brothel in which he works, accidentally murders a young girl while raping her, his only defense being "Please sir, I paid her." Blair can see that the boy doesn't realize that he has committed a crime, but both the Burmese and the European community of Moulmein demand the boy's execution. Does capital punishment make sense in such an instance? Does it ever make sense? To broaden our understanding of these intricate cases, Morris concludes each story with a perceptive and often provocative commentary on each issue. After "Brothel Boy," for instance, Morris points out that no reputable study has ever shown capital punishment to be an effective deterrent to future murders, and more surprisingly, that paroled murderers commit proportionately fewer homicides than paroled felons who used a firearm in the commission of their crime. Norval Morris is one of America's foremost experts on crime and punishment, and the stories collected here represent the culmination of a lifetime of thought on the major criminal law debates of our time. A reader of these tales will come away with a deeper understanding of these debates and with a profound respect for the intricacies of justice and the complexity of the law. (shrink)
This paper provides a phenomenological account of the writing of a young woman diagnosed with schizophrenia. The method of interpretation is to put ourselves in the place of the author drawing upon a combination of sympathy, reason, common-sense, experience, and an intersubjective world, common to us all (Schutz, 1945: 536). The result is the recognition of the person as also capable of putting herself in the place of others so as to understand their behavior. This role-taking success identifies the limits (...) of the current sociological understanding of insanity's significance in social interaction as an instance of role-taking failure (Rosenberg, 1992).The very appearance of a piece of writing often permits one to recognize the presence of schizophrenia. The use of space may be quite bizarre. The varying margins betray the writer's changing mood. The letter may start at the bottom or side of the paper or very close to the top .. (shrink)
This review essay describes David Nikkel’s broad conception of embodiment as a remedy for the insanity of modern mind/body dualism. He employs Polanyian themes, supplemented by the insights of cognitive scientists and neuroscientists, to show that all knowing is bodily, that tradition functions in knowing in a way similar to the body, and that thinking metaphorically of the world as God’s body leads to a new appreciation of panentheism.
This book demonstrates that law can be newly interrogated when examined through the lens of literature. Like its forerunner, Empty Justice, the book creates simple pathways which energise and illustrate the links between legal theory and legal science and doctrine, through the wider visions of history, literature and culture. This broadening approach is integral to understanding law in the context of wider debates and media in the community. The book provides a collection of essays, with additional commentary which reflects upon (...) very recent scholarship and debate on a range of ethico-legal topics; it also illustrates how conventional legal matters may be rendered lively and palatable, as an adjunct to approaching doctrine and cases 'cold' in the conventional textbook manner. The chapters range from examination of current thought on cohabitation and marriage laws (via Jude the Obscure), 19th century medico-legal cases relevant to current narratives of insanity in women and the nature and status of expert evidence generally; assisted suicide and autonomy (via a poem by Jon Stallworthy) to an essay on the nature of race and ethnicity (via a poem by R S Thomas), a discussion of obscenity and moral philosophy (via an essay on Crash by J G Ballard and the philosophy of Bernard Williams) and a history of ideas discussion of positivism, natural law and political crisis, war and terrorism through legal and political theory texts and a poem by Auden. The materials refer to case law where appropriate. The chapters range from examination of current thought on cohabitation and marriage laws (via Jude the Obscure), 19th century medico-legal cases relevant to current narratives of insanity in women and the nature and status of expert evidence generally; assisted suicide and autonomy (via a poem by Jon Stallworthy) to an essay on the nature of race and ethnicity (via a poem by R S Thomas), a discussion of obscenity and moral philosophy (via an essay on Crash by J G Ballard and the philosophy of Bernard Williams) and a history of ideas discussion of positivism, natural law and political crisis, war and terrorism through legal and political theory texts and a poem by Auden. The materials refer to case law where appropriate. (shrink)
Descartes is typically interpreted as asserting two related theses: 1) that the will is absolutely free in the sense that no bodily state can compel it or restrain its activity; and 2) that error is always avoidable, no matter what the condition of the body. On the basis of Descartes’s discussions of insanity and dreaming, I argue that both of these interpretive claims are false. In other words, Descartes acknowledged that a diseased or otherwise out of sorts body can (...) compel the will to affirm obscure and confused perceptions. After marshalling textual evidence for this conclusion, I go on to show how Descartes’s acknowledgment of physically induced impaired judgment can be squared with his unqualified assertions of free will, his commitment to the non-deceptiveness of God, and his epistemology. (shrink)
Harry Frankfurt has argued that Descartes’s madness doubt in the First Meditation is importantly different from his dreaming doubt. The madness doubt does not provide a reason for doubting the senses since were the meditator to suppose he was mad his ability to successfully complete the philosophical investigation he sets for himself in the first few pages of the Meditations would be undermined. I argue that Frankfurt’s interpretation of Descartes’s madness doubt is mistaken and that it should be understood as (...) playing the same role as his more famous dreaming doubt. I focus my discussion around four questions: (Q1) What does the meditator have in mind when speaking of madness?, (Q2) Why does the meditator so quickly dismiss the madness doubt but take seriously the dreaming doubt?, (Q3) Does the madness doubt have the same scope as the dreaming doubt?, and (Q4) Why does the meditator bring up the madness doubt at all? (shrink)
The body of the law is an ambiguous phrase. Conventionally, it designates the law as a determinate corpus; legal codes, statutes, and the rulings of common law. But it can also refer to the subjected body that is produced by and is part of the law. This subjected body is necessary for the law's existence. Thinking Through the Body of the Law reconceives the role of the body in the founding, maintaining, and regulation of our legal systems and social order (...) and elaborates on its implications for issues of legal responsibility and justice. Taking into account and sometimes challenging the tenets of critical legal theory, critical race theory, and feminist jurisprudence, these essays examine the body and the law as they relate to surrogacy, the Holocaust, land-rights for Aboriginals, murder, the media and insanity, taxation, genetic engineering, and sexy dressing and sexual harassment. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive handbook in the philosophy of criminal law. It contains seventeen original essays by leading thinkers in the field and covers the field's major topics including limits to criminalization, obscenity and hate speech, blackmail, the law of rape, attempts, accomplice liability, causation, responsibility, justification and excuse, duress, provocation and self-defense, insanity, punishment, the death penalty, mercy, and preventive detention and other alternatives to punishment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students whose research (...) and studies concern philosophical issues in criminal law and criminal law theory. (shrink)
When should someone who may have intentionally or knowingly committed criminal wrongdoing be excused? Excusing Crime examines what excusing conditions are, and why familiar excuses, such as duress, are thought to fulfil those conditions. -/- The 'classical' view of excuses sees them as rational defects (such as mistake) in the motive force behind an action, but contrasts them with 'denials of responsibility', such as insanity, where the rational defect in that motive force is attributable to a mental defect in (...) the agent him- or herself. This classical view of excuses has a long heritage, and is enshrined in different forms in many of the world's criminal codes, both liberal and non-liberal; however, in this book, Jeremy Horder contends that it is now time to move beyond it. -/- Horder develops a 'liberal' account of excuses, arguing that the 'classical' distinction between rational defects and 'denials of responsibility' is too sharp, and also that the classical view of excuses is too narrow. He contends that it can be right to treat claims as excusatory even if they rely on a combination of elements of rational defect in the motive force behind the action, even if that defect is in part attributable to a mental deficiency in the agent him or herself ('diminished capacity'). Further, he argues that there can be a sound case for excuse even when people can give full rational assent to their actions, such as when they could not reasonably have been expected to do more than what they did to avoid committing wrongdoing ('due diligence'), or, more rarely, when their conscience understandably left them with no moral freedom to do other than commit the wrong ('demands-of-conscience'). (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: ForewordAcknowledgments: How I was spared from having to take the BlackIntroduction: So What if Winter Is Coming?Part One. "You Win or You Die"1. Maester Hobbes Goes to King's Landing Greg Littmann2. It is a Great Crime to Lie to a King Don Fallis3. Playing the Game of Thrones: Some Lessons from Machiavelli Marcus Schulzke4. The War in Westeros and Just War Theory Richard H. CorriganPart Two. "The Things I Do for Love"5. Winter is Coming! The Bleak (...) Quest for Happiness in Westeros Eric Silverman6. The Death of Lord Stark: The Perils of Idealism David Hahn7. Lord Eddard Stark, Queen Cersei Lannister: Moral Judgments from Different Perspectives Albert J. J. Angleberger and Alexander Hieke8. It Would Be a Mercy: Choosing Life or Death in Westeros and Beyond Matthew TedescoPart Three. "Winter is Coming"9. Wargs, Wights, and Wolves that are Dire: Mind and Metaphysics, Westeros Style Henry Jacoby10. Magic, Science, and Metaphysics in A Game of Thrones Edward Cox11. "You know nothing, Jon Snow": Epistemic Humility Beyond the Wall Abraham P. Schwab12. "Why is the world so full of injustice?" Gods and the Problem of Evil Jaron Daniel SchoonePart Four. "The Man Who Passes the Sentence Should Swing the Sword"13. Why Should Joffrey Be Moral If He's Already Won the Game of Thrones? Daniel Haas14. The Moral Luck of Tyrion Lannister Christopher Robichaud15. Dany's Encounter with the Wild: Cultural Relativism in Games of Thrones Katherine Tullman16. "There Are No True Knights": The Injustice o Chivalry Stacey GoguenPart Five. "Stick Them with the Pointy End"17. Fate, Freedom, and authenticity in A Game of Thrones Michael J. Sigrist18. No One Dances the Water Dance Henry Jacoby19. The Things I Do For Love: Sex, Lies, and Game Theory R. Shannon Duval20. Stop the Madness! Knowledge, Power, and Insanity in A Song of Ice and Fire Chad William TimmContributors: The Learned Lords and Ladies from Beyond the Seven KingdomsIndex . (shrink)
This book is psychiatry's reply to the diverse group of antipsychiatrists, including Laing, Foucault, Goffman, Szasz and Bassaglia, that has made fashionable the view that mental illness is merely socially deviant behaviour and that psychiatrists are agents of the capitalist society seeking to repress such behaviour. It establishes, by the use of evidence from historical and transcultural studies, that mental illness has been recognised in all cultures since the beginning of history and goes on to explore the philosophical and medical (...) basis for psychiatry's diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Finally, it tackles two issues where psychiatry has recently been seen as at odds with the values prevailing in society: involuntary hospitalization and the insanity defence. The Reality of Mental Illness does not pretend to offer simple answers to the complex problems it discusses, but will leave the reader with a much greater understanding of psychiatry's aims, practices and problems. (shrink)
In his third and final investigation into the science of belief, bestselling author Michael Shermer tackles the evolution of morality and ethics A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an “evolutionary ethics,” science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the roots of human nature. In The Science of (...) Good and Evil , psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates, how and why morality motivates the human animal, and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the im-plications of statistics for fate and free will fuzzy logic for the existence of pure good and pure evil and ecology for the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamo, infamously known as the “fierce people” of the tropical rain forest, to the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan, to John Hinckley’s insanity defense. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth. (shrink)
The essay challenges the de facto dichotomy between the discipline of logic and the activity of social criticism, i.e., it provides an illustrated reminder to philosophers that the gulf between these two areas of philosophy is not quite as wide as our curriculum andspecialization designations tend to suggest. Social criticism plays some necessary roles in certain branches of logic, and the second-order accounting of the contents of these branches leads back to social criticism. These points suggest an adjusted conception of (...) logic that would, among other things, render phrases such as “applying logic to social criticism” as misleading since certain branches of logic would not even coherently exist apart from social criticism. The lead illustrations are the identification of basic, pervasive, and thought-impeding logical errors that have been missed by numerous logic texts, and the assessment of contemporary academic logic as properly a quest for communal sanity that lies caught between communal insanity and communal mendacity. (shrink)
In Meditation I, Descartes dismisses the possibility that he might be insane as a ground for doubting that the senses are a source of knowledge of the external world. In this paper, I argue that Descartes was justified in so doing, and draw some general epistemological conclusions from this result.