Unconscious Mens Rea: Criminal Responsibility for Lapses and Minimally Conscious States

In Dennis Patterson & Michael Pardo (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neuroscience. Oxford University Press (2016)

Abstract

In a recent book, Neil Levy argues that culpable action – action for which we are morally responsible – is necessarily produced by states of which we are consciously aware. However, criminal defendants are routinely held responsible for criminal harm caused by states of which they are not conscious in Levy’s sense. In this chapter I argue that cases of negligent criminal harm indicate that Levy’s claim that moral responsibility requires synchronic conscious awareness of the moral significance of an act is too strict, and that tracing conditions cannot be successfully used to bolster Levy’s account. Instead, current legal practices indicate that criminal responsibility requires the capacity for diachronic agency and self-control, not synchronic conscious control.

Download options

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-12-01

Downloads
1,006 (#6,555)

6 months
76 (#9,778)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Katrina L. Sifferd
Elmhurst College

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Problem with Negligence.Matt King - 2009 - Social Theory and Practice 35 (4):577-595.
Conscious Propositional Attitudes and Moral Responsibility.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (5):585-597.
Legal and Moral Responsibility.Antony Duff - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (6):978-986.
Criminal Responsibility.Victor Tadros - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
A Theory of Criminal Negligence.Victor Vridar Ramraj - 1998 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
Iv-Answering for Crime.R. A. Duff - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (1):87-113.
Complicity: That Moral Monster, Troubling Matters.Peter A. French - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (3):575-589.
Consciousness and Moral Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
A Role for Consciousness After All.Neil Levy - 2012 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (2):255-264.
Canadian Scholars on Criminal Responsibility.Stephen P. Garvey - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (2):351-364.
A Good Enough Reason: Addiction, Agency and Criminal Responsibility.Stephen J. Morse - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (5):490 - 518.
Raz on Responsibility.Gary Watson - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (3):395-409.
When Manipulation Gets Personal.Vishnu Sridharan - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):464-478.