The responsibility of the psychopath revisited

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):pp. 129-138 (2007)
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Abstract

The question of the psychopath's responsibility for his or her wrongdoing has received considerable attention. Much of this attention has been directed toward whether psychopaths are a counterexample to motivational internalism (MI): Do they possess normal moral beliefs, which fail to motivate them? In this paper, I argue that this is a question that remains conceptually and empirically intractable, and that we ought to settle the psychopath's responsibility in some other way. I argue that recent empirical work on the moral judgments of psychopaths provides us with good reason to think that they are not fully responsible agents, because their actions cannot express the kinds of ill-will toward others that grounds attributions of distinctively moral responsibility. I defend this view against objections, especially those due to an influential account of moral responsibility that holds that moral knowledge is not necessary for responsibility.

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Neil Levy
Macquarie University

Citations of this work

Responsibility as Answerability.Angela M. Smith - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (2):99-126.
Psychopaths and blame: The argument from content.Neil Levy - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (3):351–367.

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