Responsibility, Incompetence, and Psychopathy

In The Lindley Lecture. University of Kansas (2013)

Authors
David Brink
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
This essay articulates a conception of responsibility and excuse in terms of the fair opportunity to avoid wrongdoing and explores its implications for insanity, incompetence, and psychopathy. The fair opportunity conception factors responsibility into conditions of normative competence and situational control and factors normative competence into cognitive and volitional capacities. This supports a conception of incompetence that recognizes substantial impairment of either cognitive or volitional capacities as excusing, provided the agent is not substantially responsible for her own incompetence. This conception helps frame the question whether psychopathy is excusing. The most common rationale for excusing psychopathy appeals to claims about cognitive incompetence. However, there are good philosophical and empirical reasons to be skeptical that psychopaths lack the relevant cognitive capacities. There is more to be said for a volitional rationale for excuse. The crucial question here is whether the problems psychopaths have with impulse control and conforming their behavior to the relevant moral and criminal norms are systematic enough to demonstrate genuine volitional incompetence. The available empirical evidence should leave us skeptical about the merits of this volitional rationale for excuse.
Keywords excuse  incompetence  insanity  normative competence  psychopathy  responsibility
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Fairness and the Architecture of Responsibility.David O. Brink & Dana K. Nelkin - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility 1:284-313.
Situationism, Responsibility, and Fair Opportunity.David O. Brink - 2013 - Social Philosophy and Policy (1-2):121-149.
Disability and Moral Responsibility.Simo Vehmas - 2011 - TRAMES 15 (2):156-167.
Diagnosing Blame: Responsibility and the Psychopath.Carl Elliott - 1992 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17 (2):199-214.
Moral Responsibility and the Psychopath.Walter Glannon - 2008 - Neuroethics 1 (3):158-166.
Psychopathy and Responsibility Theory.Paul Litton - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):676-688.
The Mad, the Bad, and the Psychopath.Heidi L. Maibom - 2008 - Neuroethics 1 (3):167-184.
Moral Understanding in the Psychopath.Luca Malatesti - 2009 - Synthesis Philosophica 24 (2):337-348.
Beyond Mental Competence.Craig Edwards - 2010 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (3):273-289.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-07-24

Total views
339 ( #17,761 of 2,280,951 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #52,008 of 2,280,951 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature