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Neuroimaging, Responsibility, and Law: How Neuroscientific Explanations Challenge the Fundaments of Legal Responsibility

Doud, Nolina Leora Siegal (2016) Neuroimaging, Responsibility, and Law: How Neuroscientific Explanations Challenge the Fundaments of Legal Responsibility.

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Abstract:This thesis introduces the controversy between the promise of neuroimaging in the courtroom and the concern that the neuroscientific explanations undermine the traditional legal notion of responsibility. I contend that this conflict must be reconciled on the conceptual level. I introduce and critically evaluate two approaches offering ways to integrate neuroscience and law: “neuro-reductionists” and “distributed causalists.” The research question which I seek to answer is: how can a conceptual analysis of the neuro-reductive and distributed causalist stances on the relationship between the mind, brain, body, and world offer a way to reconcile novel neuroimaging applications with the traditional legal notion of responsibility? I respond to this question by conducting an extensive literature review. First, I enumerate what arguments are articulated inside the courtroom, and how these conflicts are appropriated by the public. Second, I explore the philosophical concepts which co-constitute the legal notion of responsibility: causality, agency, mental states, and free will. Third, I compare this legal approach to neuro-reductionism, demonstrating how neuro-reductionism challenges various presupposition of legal responsibility. Fourth, I compare the legal approach to an alternative framework, distributed causalists. I argue that this conceptual approach allows stakeholders to take neuroimages into account without engendering major conceptual conflicts.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy, 10 humanities in general, 50 technical science in general, 70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology, 86 law
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/70536
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