A list of my recent work relevant to Law and Neuroscience

Francis Shen (Harvard, University of Minnesota) recently contacted me to ask what significant work I have done since 2014 that might be relevant to the legal casebook he edits on Law and Neuroscience. Specifically, Francis wants to know “Which parts of your work would you would want law students to read in a Law and Neuroscience course?”

It has been such a useful exercise to consider this question! Below is what I have come up with so far. I will certainly end up shortening the list before I reply to Francis. I may even decide law students aren’t a great audience for any of my work. And, some of the papers are certainly more neuroscience-y than others. I wonder, which of these do you think ought to be included?

  1. My book arguing that executive functions are the particular brain functions necessary to criminal responsibility. (I will need an excerpt.)

(2018) Responsible Brains: Neuroscience, Law, and Human Culpability, with William Hirstein and Tyler Fagan, MIT press.

  1. A paper applying the executive theory of responsibility to argue for a new scalar conception of juvenile culpability.

(Forthcoming) “Juvenile Responsibility: In Search of a Scalar Standard,” with Tyler Fagan and William Hirstein, in Surrounding Self-Control: The Philosophy and Science of Self-Control, Oxford University Press (Al Mele, ed.).

  1. A paper claiming data from cognitive science indicates psychopathy is not strongly relevant to legal insanity. (Or, in simpler terms, persons diagnosed as psychopaths are very unlikely to be legally insane; and may be fully responsible.)

(2018) “Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?” with Anneli Jefferson, European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, special issue on psychopathy, 14(1), 79-96 (Jurjako, M. & Malatesti, L. Eds).

  1. One paper critiquing non-reductivism as a theory of the mind/body relationship because it undermines criminal responsibility; and another arguing that non-eliminative reductionism is a theory of the mind/body relationship that supports criminal responsibility.

(2014) “What does it mean to be a mechanism? Morse, Non-Reductivism, and Mental Causation,” special edition of Criminal Law & Philosophy on the work of Stephen Morse (N. Vincent Ed.): 1-17.

(2018) “Non-Eliminative Reductionism: Not the theory of the mind/body relationship some criminal law theorists want, but the one they need,” in Neurolaw and Responsibility for Action: Concepts, Crimes and Courts, Cambridge University Press (M. Patterson & B. Donnelly-Lazarov eds.).

  1. Paper arguing in support of a negligence doctrine that holds persons criminally responsible even if he did not consciously foresee criminal harm.

(2016) “Unconscious Mens Rea: Responsibility for lapses and minimally conscious states” in Law and Neuroscience: Philosophical Foundations, Oxford University Press (D. Patterson and Pardo, M., Eds.).

  1. Papers critiquing certain criminal punishment practices. The first paper argues chemical castration and other DBIs typically do not serve the purposes of punishment; the second claims sentences of incarceration often deny offenders the ability to develop virtuous traits.

(Forthcoming) “Chemical Castration and other Direct Brain Interventions as Rehabilitative Treatment,” book chapter in Neuro-Interventions and the Law, Oxford University Press (N. Vincent & Nadelhoffer, T. Eds.).

(2016) “Virtue Ethics and Criminal Punishment,” in From Personality to Virtue, Oxford University Press (Weber and Masala, Eds.)


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