Diagnosing blame: Responsibility and the psychopath

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17 (2):199-214 (1992)
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Abstract

The diagnosis of psychopathy is controversial largely because of two notions: first, that because of their defects, psychopaths cannot understand morality, and second, that these defects should thus excuse psychopaths from moral responsibility for their actions. However, it is not clear just what is involved in understanding morality. The argument that the psychopath is ignorant of morality in the same way that one might be ignorant of facts is difficult to sustain. However, a closer examination of the psychopath's peculiar deficiencies reveals that the psychopath's understanding of morality might be impaired in other ways. Keywords: disease, ethics, philosophy, psychopathy, psychiatry, responsibility

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Carl Elliott
University of Minnesota

Citations of this work

Autism, empathy and moral agency.Jeanette Kennett - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):340-357.
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XIV—Psychopathic Agency and Prudential Deficits.Gary Watson - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):269-292.

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