Will contemporary science, especially genetics and neuroscience, require substantial changes to our notions of criminal responsibility? Biology and Blame is a series of very interesting articles examining historical and current influences on the notion of criminal responsibility.
Fight your fate
Does neuroscience disprove free will? Julian Baggini’s very nice review of four books about free will, responsibility, and neuroscience. “But perhaps the greatest mystery of free will is how it can be that on both major axes of the debate – whether it exists and whether it matters if it does – intelligent, informed opinion can be found at both ends. That might be a clue that this is a question without a definitive, factual answer.” And that could mean we are asking the wrong questions about free will. “… [E]ven if you want to insist that we don’t have free will, we still have recognisable, if subtly altered, forms of many of the cherished notions we assume depend on it, like love, responsibility and morality. … That’s what matters, and if you don’t want to call it free will, feel free to call it what you will.”
Neuroscience and criminal responsibility
Was it really me? Some think that as we learn more about the brain processes underlying our actions, the less meaningful it will be to lock people up for their actions because those actions can always be traced back to brain functions. But Steve Fleming thinks neuroscience might make us more, not less, responsible for our actions.
Can you hijack your brain?
The fallacy of the hijacked brain. Is addiction a choice or a disease? Neither, says Peg O’Connor. The question is a “category mistake” that rests on a false dilemma.