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Neurointerventions and the LawRegulating Human Mental Capacity$
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Nicole A Vincent, Thomas Nadelhoffer, and Allan McCay

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190651145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190651145.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 February 2021

Foundational Facts for Legal Responsibility

Foundational Facts for Legal Responsibility

Human Agency and the Aims of Restorative Neurointerventions

Chapter:
(p.319) 14 Foundational Facts for Legal Responsibility
Source:
Neurointerventions and the Law
Author(s):

Paul Sheldon Davies

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190651145.003.0014

The project of restorative neurointerventions has the ambitious aim of restoring specific competencies to some baseline. This includes the restoration of capacities integral to practical reasoning, and thus to various form of legal responsibility, that are deficient in some way. The goal is to restore such persons so they may legitimately be held legally responsible for future actions. The thesis of this chapter is that this project faces serious skepticism. This skepticism derives not from doubts that relevant capacities can be restored. It derives rather from the apparent fact that at least some of the capacities we intuitively take as integral to legal responsibility are capacities that human beings in general do not possess, including humans not afflicted by any statistically aberrant incapacity. This apparent fact—that humans in general do not possess capacities that are taken to be integral for responsibility—derives from the integration of findings in affective and cognitive neuroscience and in social psychology. If the proposed integration is correct, then the alleged foundational facts for legal responsibility fail to apply to organisms like us, and the project of neurorestoration cannot succeed unless the actual capacities (if any) that render us genuinely responsible are discovered.

Keywords:   restorative interventions, practical reasoning, moral competency, criminal responsibility, cognitive neuroscience, social psychology

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