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Law and NeuroscienceCurrent Legal Issues Volume 13$
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Michael Freeman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599844

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599844.001.0001

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Madness, Badness, and Neuroimaging-Based Responsibility Assessments

Madness, Badness, and Neuroimaging-Based Responsibility Assessments

(p.79) 6 Madness, Badness, and Neuroimaging-Based Responsibility Assessments
Law and Neuroscience

Nicole A Vincent

Oxford University Press

This chapter poses the interesting question whether lacking the mental capacity for moral agency excuses or condemns further. Heidi Maibom, in a recent article, has argued for the latter, so that such evidence would enhance the prosecution's case. Marga Reimer, also in a recent article, claims that such evidence both increases and condemns. It is argued that once we distinguish condemnation of people ‘for who they are’ from ‘what they do’, and realize that each of these two types of condemnation plays a role at a different stage in a criminal trial, we will see that at the guilt determination stage such evidence clearly favours the defence. The claims of Maibom and Reimer are rejected.

Keywords:   mental capacity, moral agency, criminal responsibility, criminal behaviour, condemnation, guilt

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