Three Rationales for a Legal Right to Mental Integrity

In S. Ligthart, D. van Toor, T. Kooijmans, T. Douglas & G. Meynen (eds.), Neurolaw: Advances in Neuroscience, Justice and Security. Palgrave Macmillan (2021)
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Many states recognize a legal right to bodily integrity, understood as a right against significant, nonconsensual interference with one’s body. Recently, some have called for the recognition of an analogous legal right to mental integrity: a right against significant, nonconsensual interference with one’s mind. In this chapter, we describe and distinguish three different rationales for recognizing such a right. The first appeals to case-based intuitions to establish a distinctive duty not to interfere with others’ minds; the second holds that, if we accept a legal right to bodily integrity, then we must, on pain of philosophical inconsistency, accept a case for an analogous right over the mind; and the third holds that recent technological developments create a need for a legal right to mental integrity.



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Author Profiles

Lisa Forsberg
University of Oxford
Thomas Douglas
University of Oxford

References found in this work

Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life.Derk Pereboom - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Justice for hedgehogs.Ronald Dworkin - 2011 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.

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