Responsibility and the brain sciences

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Some theorists think that the more we get to know about the neural underpinnings of our behaviors, the less likely we will be to hold people responsible for their actions. This intuition has driven some to suspect that as neuroscience gains insight into the neurological causes of our actions, people will cease to view others as morally responsible for their actions, thus creating a troubling quandary for our legal system. This paper provides empirical evidence against such intuitions. Particularly, our studies of folk intuitions suggest that (1) when the causes of an action are described in neurological terms, they are not found to be any more exculpatory than when described in psychological terms, and (2) agents are not held fully responsible even for actions that are fully neurologically caused. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • de Brigard, F; Mandelbaum, E; Ripley, D

Published Date

  • November 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 511 - 524

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1572-8447

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1386-2820

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10677-008-9143-5

Citation Source

  • Scopus