Original Paper


, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 179-190

First online:

Minds, Brains, and Norms

  • Michael S. PardoAffiliated withUniversity of Alabama School of Law Email author 
  • , Dennis PattersonAffiliated withEuropean University InstituteRutgers University School of Law

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Arguments for the importance of neuroscience reach across many disciplines. Advocates of neuroscience have made wide-ranging claims for neuroscience in the realms of ethics, value, and law. In law, for example, many scholars have argued for an increased role for neuroscientific evidence in the assessment of criminal responsibility. In this article, we take up claims for the explanatory role of neuroscience in matters of morals and law. Drawing on our previous work together, we assess the cogency of neuroscientific explanations of three issues that arise in these domains: rule-following, interpretation, and knowledge. We critique these explanations and in general challenge claims as to the efficacy of the neuroscientific accounts.


Rule-following Interpretation Knowledge Ethics Morals Mens rea Insanity Lie detection Deception