Some Unexamined Assumptions of Nita Farahany’s “Law and Behavioral Morality”
This chapter explores Professor Farahany's suggestion that behavioral moralists should focus their energies on scientifically validating and qualifying people's legal notion of reasonableness. Reasonableness refers to the norms of behavior that society expects any given person to meet. The problem is that it isn't clear what people can actually expect of the average member of the community. Indeed, at present, people “base the average or reasonable person solely on fictional predictions of human practices.” However, Farahany believes that, “as neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and scientific studies of human behavior progress, these disciplines will become increasingly more relevant to societal constructs of average or normal behavior.” As such, the notion of reasonableness may one day reflect not only what people know a population can do but what they can anticipate and require its individuals to do.
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