Mental time travel, agency and responsibility

In Matthew Broome & Lisa Bortolotti (eds.), Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press (2009)
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Abstract

We have argued elsewhere that moral responsibility over time depends in part upon the having of psychological connections which facilitate forms of self-control. In this chapter we explore the importance of mental time travel - our ordinary ability to mentally travel to temporal locations outside the present, involving both memory of our personal past and the ability to imagine ourselves in the future - to our agential capacities for planning and control. We suggest that in many individuals with dissociative disorders, forms of amnesia, or other frontal lobe damage, our capacity for mental time travel is impaired, resulting in commensurate losses to agency autonomy, and a forensic condition essential for holding persons responsible: in legal terms, the capacity for mens rea.

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Author Profiles

Steve Matthews
Australian Catholic University
Jeanette Kennett
Macquarie University

Citations of this work

Psychopaths and blame: The argument from content.Neil Levy - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (3):351–367.
Psychopaths and blame: The argument from content.Neil Levy - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (3):351-367.
Memory.Kourken Michaelian & John Sutton - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Delusion.Lisa Bortolotti - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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