Authors
Anneli Jefferson
Cardiff University
Katrina L. Sifferd
Elmhurst College
Abstract
The question of whether psychopaths are criminally and morally responsible has generated significant controversy in the literature. In this paper, we discuss what relevance a psychopathy diagnosis has for criminal responsibility. It has been argued that figuring out whether psychopathy is a mental illness is of fundamental importance, because it is a precondition for psychopaths’ eligibility to be excused via the legal insanity defense. But even if psychopathy counts as a mental illness, this alone is not sufficient to show the insanity defense is applicable; it must also be shown that, as a result of the illness, specific deficits in moral understanding or control are present. In this paper, we show that a diagnosis of psychopathy will generally not indicate that a defendant is eligible for an insanity defense. This is because the group of individuals subsumed under the diagnosis is so heterogeneous that while some psychopaths do show significant impairments in affect and control which may impact on their responsibility, many psychopaths are not incapacitated in a way relevant to responsibility.
Keywords Psychopathy   mental disorder  dysfunction  criminal responsibility  insanity defense
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2018
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.31820/ejap.14.1.5
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,316
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Punishment and Responsibility.H. L. A. Hart - 1968 - Philosophy 45 (172):162-162.
Fairness and the Architecture of Responsibility.David O. Brink & Dana K. Nelkin - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility 1:284-313.
The Responsibility of the Psychopath Revisited.Neil Levy - 2007 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):pp. 129-138.

View all 41 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Is Psychopathy a Harmful Dysfunction?Marko Jurjako - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (5):1-23.
Doctors Without ‘Disorders’.Lisa Bortolotti - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):163-184.
The Societal Response to Psychopathy in the Community.Marko Jurjako, Luca Malatesti & Inti Angelo Brazil - 2021 - International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Mad, the Bad, and the Psychopath.Heidi L. Maibom - 2008 - Neuroethics 1 (3):167-184.
A New Legal Treatment for Psychopaths? Perplexities for Legal Thinkers.Maria Isabel Gonzalez-Tapia, Ingrid Obsuth & Rachel Heeds - 2017 - International Journal of Law and Psychiatry:DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2017.04.004.
On Blaming and Punishing Psychopaths.Marion Godman & Anneli Jefferson - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (1):127-142.
Is Psychopathy a Mental Disease?Thomas Nadelhoffer & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2013 - In Nicole Vincent (ed.), Neuroscience and legal responsibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 229–255.
Neurosurgery for Psychopaths? The Problems of Empathy and Neurodiversity.Erick Ramirez - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (3):166-168.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-09-13

Total views
85 ( #138,465 of 2,519,499 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #116,789 of 2,519,499 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes