Responsibility and the brain sciences

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):511-524 (2008)

Authors
Felipe De Brigard
Duke University
David Ripley
Monash University
Eric Mandelbaum
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
Some theorists think that the more we get to know about the neural underpinnings of our behaviors, the less likely we will be to hold people responsible for their actions. This intuition has driven some to suspect that as neuroscience gains insight into the neurological causes of our actions, people will cease to view others as morally responsible for their actions, thus creating a troubling quandary for our legal system. This paper provides empirical evidence against such intuitions. Particularly, our studies of folk intuitions suggest that (1) when the causes of an action are described in neurological terms, they are not found to be any more exculpatory than when described in psychological terms, and (2) agents are not held fully responsible even for actions that are fully neurologically caused.
Keywords Responsibility  Neuroscience  Free will  Experimental philosophy  Mental illness  Law
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Reprint years 2009
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-008-9143-5
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References found in this work BETA

Special Sciences.Jerry A. Fodor - 1974 - Synthese 28 (2):97-115.

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Citations of this work BETA

Thinking is Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):55-96.
Experimental Philosophy and Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
A Unified Empirical Account of Responsibility Judgments.Gunnar Björnsson & Karl Persson - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):611-639.

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