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).
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DOI 10.1080/00201747208601655
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