Should or should not forensic psychiatrists think about free will?

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (2):203-212 (2009)

Authors
Gerben Meynen
VU University Amsterdam
Abstract
The forensic psychiatrist’s task is often considered to be tightly connected to the concept of free will. Yet, there is also a lack of clarity about the role of the concept of free will in forensic psychiatry. Recently, Morse has argued that forensic psychiatrists should not mention free will in their reports or testimonies, and, moreover, that they should not even think about free will. Starting from a discussion on Morse’s claims, I will develop my own view on how forensic psychiatrists are confronted with the issue of free will and how they should deal with this concept and the confusion surrounding it. I conclude that psychiatrists should at least feel free to think about free will and that the conceptual challenges connected to the issues of free will and accountability could rather encourage than deter forensic psychiatrists to think about them
Keywords Psychiatry  Forensic psychiatry  Free will  Mental disorder  Freedom  Responsibility  Philosophy  Law
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-008-9166-7
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Responsibility, Luck, and Chance.Robert Kane - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (5):217-240.
Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments.Michael McKenna & R. Jay Wallace - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (3):415.

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