Neuroethics of criminal responsibility

Mental disorders influencing behavior

Authored by: Gerben Meynen

The Routledge International Handbook of Biosocial Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415722131
eBook ISBN: 9781315858449
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936749


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Neuroethics has been defined in different ways. Basically, it consists of two branches of research. First, it concerns the ethics of performing neuroscientific studies; second, it deals with the implications of neuroscience for ethics (Levy, 2007). The latter is the focus of this chapter, as it addresses the question: What are the implications of neuroscience for the legal and psychiatric evaluation of a defendant’s responsibility for his actions? This topic is an important theme in neuroethics, but also in the field of neurolaw, an area of research that examines the implications of neuroscience for the law (Spranger, 2012). In this chapter the approach is neuroethical as well as neurolegal, because the meaning of neuroscience for criminal responsibility is the topic of interest.

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