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Treatment for CrimePhilosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice$
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David Birks and Thomas Douglas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758617

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198758617.001.0001

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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: 07 December 2021

Those Who Forget the Past

Those Who Forget the Past

An Ethical Challenge from the History of Treating Deviance

(p.274) 15 Those Who Forget the Past
Treatment for Crime

Emily McTernan

Oxford University Press

Treating those who commit crimes or behave in ways deemed socially undesirable with medical interventions targeting the brain, or ‘neurointerventions’, comes with a history. That history is one full of appalling cases, including the chemical castration of men convicted of consensual same-sex relations, electric shocks to treat the ‘non-compliant’, and lobotomies. This chapter argues that this appalling history of using neurointerventions to respond to socially undesirable behaviour should affect our assessment of whether it is ethical to try again. In particular, proponents of such neurointerventions must defend their actions as different to those of the past in ethically salient ways, but it turns out to be very hard for them to do so.

Keywords:   neurointervention, crime, history, pessimistic induction, medical intervention, moral progress

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