Law, Neuroscience and Criminal Culpability

Claydon, Lisa (2011). Law, Neuroscience and Criminal Culpability. In: Michael, Freeman ed. Law and Neuroscience: Current Legal Issues. Current Legal Issues, 13. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


This chapter examines the relationship between explanations of human behaviour drawn from neuroscientific imaging and the approach adopted by the criminal law to establishing the legal framework for evaluating guilt or innocence. It questions whether purely scientific approaches provide a sufficient understanding of what it means to be guilty or innocent of a crime. It considers what pictures of brain states may tell us about culpability and concludes by considering whether the present philosophical basis of the criminal law is sufficiently robust to withstand some claims that are being made about what neuroscience tells us about brain states.

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