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Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neuroscience$
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Dennis Patterson and Michael S. Pardo

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198743095

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198743095.001.0001

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The Promise of Neuroscience for Law

The Promise of Neuroscience for Law

‘Overclaiming’ in Jurisprudence, Morality, and Economics

(p.231) 10 The Promise of Neuroscience for Law
Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neuroscience

Michael S. Pardo

Dennis Patterson

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the claims made on behalf of neuroscience in three areas: legal philosophy, emotion and moral judgment, and economics. It argues that reductionist claims made for the explanatory power of neuroscience are simply not demonstrated in these areas. Neuroscience, at least so far, tells us nothing of import in the area of legal philosophy. With respect to moral judgments, there are many interesting claims made about the roles of emotion, but there is no evidence that neuroscientific data about the brain provides answers to the difficult normative questions. Finally, even if neuroscience can tell where in the brain one finds the neural correlates of economic decisions, it is questionable whether this information answers any normative questions about rationality or economic reasoning.

Keywords:   legal philosophy, emotion, moral judgment, economics, reductionist claims, neuroscience, rationality

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