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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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Free Will as a Matter of Law

Free Will as a Matter of Law

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Free Will as a Matter of Law
Source:
Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neuroscience
Author(s):

Adam J. Kolber

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198743095.003.0002

This chapter confronts the issue of free will in neurolaw, rejecting one of the leading views of the relationship between free will and legal responsibility on the ground that the current system of legal responsibility likely emerged from outdated views about the mind, mental states, and free will. It challenges the compatibilist approach to law (in which free will and causal determinism can coexist). The chapter argues that those who initially developed the criminal law endorsed or presupposed views about mind and free will that modern neuroscience will aid in revealing as false. It then argues for the relevance of false presuppositions embedded in the original development of the criminal law in judging whether to revise or maintain the current system. In doing so, the chapter shares the view that neuroscientific developments will change the way we think about criminal responsibility.

Keywords:   free will, legal responsibility, criminal responsibility, compatibilism, neuroscientific developments

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