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Evolution and MoralityNOMOS LII$
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James E. Fleming and Sanford Levinson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814771228

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814771228.001.0001

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A Case Study in Neuroscience and Responsibility

A Case Study in Neuroscience and Responsibility

(p.194) 6 A Case Study in Neuroscience and Responsibility
Evolution and Morality

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

NYU Press

This chapter addresses culpability and responsibility through a case study of Peder Tumkopf, whose brain tumor caused his pedophilic behaviors. The reporting doctors see this as “establishing causality” and conclude that his pedophilia was “a specific manifestation of orbitofrontal syndrome.” However, Peder is still criminally liable for his conduct. Most modern criminal law systems impose criminal liability and responsibility when and only when the agent does (1) a voluntary act (2) of a forbidden type (3) with a requisite mens rea (4) without an affirmative defense, such as insanity. Peder seems to meet these conditions of responsibility for two criminal acts: collecting child pornography and molesting his stepdaughter. He did an act of each of these two types, those acts were voluntary insofar as they resulted from conscious choices, they were also intentional and hence done with mens rea, and he had no affirmative defense, such as duress or insanity.

Keywords:   culpability, responsibility, causality, criminal law systems, criminal liability

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