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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

Neuroprosthetics, Behavior Control, and Criminal Responsibility

Neuroprosthetics, Behavior Control, and Criminal Responsibility

(p.89) 4 Neuroprosthetics, Behavior Control, and Criminal Responsibility
Neurointerventions and the Law

Walter Glannon

Oxford University Press

Arguments for moral and criminal responsibility generally assume that the control necessary for responsibility rules out all forms of brain manipulation. The agent’s mental states must be the direct causes of her actions. Yet when they operate effectively, neuroprosthetics do not undermine but restore control of motor and mental functions that have been lost from brain injury or impaired by neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Neural implants enable varying degree of voluntary agency by restoring varying degrees of the relevant functions. Whether or to what extent a person with a device implanted in her brain can be criminally responsible for an action, omission or consequence of an action or omission depends on the extent to which she can control the device and the thought and behavior it is designed to regulate. I present actual and hypothetical cases involving three different types of brain implants to explore how individuals with these devices implanted in their brains can control their mental states and actions. Brain implants that alter motor and mental functions should make us reconsider standard interpretations of psychological and physical criteria of criminal responsibility.

Keywords:   neuroprosthetics, control, mental function, voluntary agency, criminal responsibility

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