Neuroethics

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 179–190 | Cite as

Minds, Brains, and Norms

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

References

  1. 1.
    Pardo, Michael S., and Dennis Patterson. forthcoming 2010. “Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neuroscience,” Univ. of Illinois Law Review, available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1338763.
  2. 2.
    Glannon, Walter. 2009. Our brains are not us. Bioethics 23: 321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Noë, Alva. 2009. Out of Our Heads.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Greene, Joshua, and Jonathan Cohen. 2004. For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Soc’y London 359: 1775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bennett, Maxwell, and P.M.S. Hacker. 2003. Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, 68–74.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Greene, Joshua, and Jonathan Haidt. 2002. How (and where) does moral judgment work? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6: 517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chorvat, Terrence, and Kevin McCabe. 2006. The Brain and the Law. In Law & the Brain, eds. Semir Zeki, and Oliver Goodenough, 128.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sanfey, Alan G., et al. 2006. Neuroeconomics: Cross-currents in research on decision-making. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10: 108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Goodenough, Oliver R. 2001. Mapping cortical areas associated with legal reasoning and moral intuition. Jurimetrics Journal 41: 420.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bennett M.R., and P.M.S. Hacker. 2008. A History of Cognitive Neuroscience.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mikhail, John. 2009. Moral grammar and intuitive jurisprudence: A formal model of unconscious moral and legal knowledge. Psychology of Learning and Motivation 50: 27. 28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hauser, Marc D. 2006. Moral Minds 42.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mikhail, John. 2007. Universal moral grammar: Theory, evidence and the future. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11: 143. 148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Baker, G.P., and P.M.S. Hacker. 2005 Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning (Volume 1 of An Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations) 185 (2d ed., Revised by P.M.S. Hacker 2005).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Patterson, Dennis. 2006. Dworkin on the semantics of legal and political concepts. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 26: 545–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bennett, Maxwell, and Peter Hacker. 2007. The Conceptual Presuppositions of Cognitive Neuroscience. In Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind and Language, eds. Maxwell Bennett, Daniel Dennett, Peter Hacker, and John Searle, 151.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Goodenough, Oliver R. 2001. Mapping cortical areas associated with legal reasoning and moral intuition. Jurimetrics Journal 41: 429. 436.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Patterson, Dennis. 1996. Law and Truth 71–98.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Quine, W.V. 1969. Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, 51–55. Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Baker, G.P., and P.M.S. Hacker. 1980. Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning (Volume 2 of An Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations). Blackwell, p. 667.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ryle, Gilbert. 1949. The Concept of Mind, 25–61.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hetherington, Stephen. 2006. How to Know (that Knowledge-That is Knowledge-How). In Epistemology Futures, ed. Hetherington, 71–94.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bennett, M.R., and P.M.S. Hacker. 2008. A History of Cognitive Neuroscience 96.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bauby, Jean-Dominique. 1997. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Arizona, Clark v. 2006. 548 U.S. 735, 747.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Eyal, Aharoni, et al. 2008. Can neurological evidence help courts assess criminal responsibility? Lessons from law and neuroscience. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1124: 145–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    O’Hara, Erin Ann. 2004. How neuroscience might advance the law. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London 359: 1677–1684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Farwell, Lawrence A., and Sharon S. Smith. 2001. Using brain MERMER testing to detect knowledge despite effort to conceal. Journal of Forensic Sciences 46: 135.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Giridharadas, Anand. “India’s Novel Use of Brain Scans in Courts is Debated,” NY Times, Sept. 14, 2008.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kozel, F.Andrew, et al. 2005. Detecting deception using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Biological Psychiatry 58: 605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Langleben, D.D. 2002. Brain activity during simulated deception: An event-related functional magnetic resonance study. Neuroimage 15: 727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Fallis, Don. 2009. What is lying? Journal of Philosophy 106: 29.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Milton, John, et al. 2007. The mind of expert motor performance is cool and focused. Neuroimage 35: 804–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Monteleone, George T., et al. 2009. Detection of deception using fmri: better than chance, but well below perfection. Social Neuroscience 4: 528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Alabama School of LawTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.European University InstituteFlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Rutgers University School of LawCamdenUSA

Personalised recommendations