Skip to main content
Book cover

Psychopathy pp 215–233Cite as

The Value-Ladenness of Psychopathy

Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL,volume 27)

Abstract

The recurring claim that the construct of psychopathy is value-laden often is not qualified in enough detail. The chapters in this part of the volume, instead, investigate in depth the role and significance of values in different aspects of the construct of psychopathy. Following these chapters, but also by offering a background to them, we show how certain values are involved in the characterisation of psychopathy, inform societal needs satisfied by this construct, and have a central role in determining whether psychopathy is a mental disorder. Moreover, we relate this description to our criticism of the view that the entrenchment of the notion of psychopathy with values renders it in principle irreconcilable with sound psychiatric theory and practice. However, we also recognize that the value-ladenness of psychopathy leaves open other important challenges. Meeting them needs addressing interdisciplinary interrelated issues that have empirical, normative, and theoretical dimensions.

Keywords

  • Psychopathy
  • Value-ladeness
  • Mental disorder
  • Social constructivism
  • Moral capacities

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-82454-9_12
  • Chapter length: 19 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-82454-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  • Adshead, G. (this volume). Unsexed cruelty: Gender and psychopathy as regulatory discourses in relation to violent women. In L. Malatesti, J. McMillan, & P. Šustar (Eds.), Psychopathy. Its uses, validity, and status. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinwall, L. G., Brown, T. R., & Tabery, J. (2012). The double-edged sword: Does biomechanism increase or decrease judges’ sentencing of psychopaths? Science, 337(6096), 846–849. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1219569

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ayer, A. J. (1970). Language, truth and logic. Dover Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Babiak, P., Neumann, C. S., & Hare, R. D. (2010). Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 28(2), 174–193. https://doi.org/10.1002/bsl.925

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bermúdez, J. L. (2005). Philosophy of psychology: A contemporary introduction. Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blackburn, R. (1988). On moral judgements and personality disorders. The myth of psychopathic personality revisited. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 153(4), 505–512. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.153.4.505

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Blair, R. J. R., Mitchell, D., & Blair, K. (2005). The psychopath: Emotion and the brain. Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bolton, D. (2008). What is mental disorder? An essay in philosophy, science, and values. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boorse, C. (1977). Health as a theoretical concept. Philosophy of Science, 44(4), 542–573. https://doi.org/10.1086/288768

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Borsboom, D. (2017). A network theory of mental disorders. World Psychiatry, 16(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20375

    CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Bortolotti, L. (2020). Doctors without ‘disorders’. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 94(1), 163–184. https://doi.org/10.1093/arisup/akaa006

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Brazil, I. A., van Dongen, J. D. M., Maes, J. H. R., Mars, R. B., & Baskin-Sommers, A. R. (2018). Classification and treatment of antisocial individuals: From behavior to biocognition. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 91, 259–277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.10.010

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Brzović, Z., Jurjako, M., & Šustar, P. (2017). The kindness of psychopaths. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 31(2), 189–211. https://doi.org/10.1080/02698595.2018.1424761

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cartwright, S. A. (1851). Report on the disease and physical peculiarities of the Negro race. The New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, 89–92.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cavadino, M. (1998). Death to the psychopath. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 9(1), 5–8. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585189808402175

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Charland, L. C. (2004). Character: Moral treatment and the personality disorders. In J. Radden (Ed.), The philosophy of psychiatry: A companion (pp. 64–77). Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cleckley, H. (1976). The mask of sanity (5th ed.). Mosby.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, R. V. (this volume). Reasons to expect psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) to vary across cultures. In L. Malatesti, J. McMillan, & P. Šustar (Eds.), Psychopathy. Its uses, validity, and status. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, R. V. (2005). Classifying madness: A philosophical examination of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • D’Alessio, V., Čeč, F., & Karge, H. (2017). Crime and madness at the opposite shores of the Adriatic: Moral insanity in Italian and Croatian psychiatric discourses. Acta Medico-Historica Adriatica : AMHA, 15(2), 219–252.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Decety, J., & Wheatley, T. (Eds.). (2017). Moral brain: A multidisciplinary perspective. MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Forouzan, E., & Cooke, D. J. (2005). Figuring out la femme fatale: Conceptual and assessment issues concerning psychopathy in females. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 23(6), 765–778. https://doi.org/10.1002/bsl.669

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Fulford, K. W. M. (1989). Moral theory and medical practice. Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fulford, K. W. M., Smirnov, A. Y. U., & Snow, E. (1993). Concepts of disease and the abuse of psychiatry in the USSR. British Journal of Psychiatry, 162(6), 801–810. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.162.6.801

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gaus, G. F. (2011). The order of public reason. Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Glenn, A. L., Efferson, L. M., Iyer, R., & Graham, J. (2017). Values, goals, and motivations associated with psychopathy. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 36(2), 108–125. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2017.36.2.108

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Glenn, A. L., & Raine, A. (2014). Psychopathy: An introduction to biological findings and their implications. NYU Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Graham, G. (2013). The disordered mind: An introduction to philosophy of mind and mental illness (2nd ed.). Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hacking, I. (1996). The looping effects of human kinds. In D. Sperber, D. Premack, & A. J. Premack (Eds.), Causal cognition (pp. 351–383). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524021.003.0012

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: A social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review, 108(4), 814–834.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hare, R. D. (2003). The Hare psychopathy checklist revised (2nd ed.). Multi-Health Systems.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holmes, C. A. (1991). Psychopathic disorder: A category mistake? Journal of Medical Ethics, 17(2), 77–85. https://doi.org/10.1136/jme.17.2.77

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Horwitz, A. V. (2003). Creating mental illness. Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hume, D. (1748). An enquiry concerning human understanding (Reissued). Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jalava, J., & Griffiths, S. (2017). Philosophers on psychopaths: A cautionary in interdisciplinarity. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 24(1), 1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jalava, J., Griffiths, S., & Maraun, M. (2015). The myth of the born criminal. University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jefferson, A. (2014). Mental disorders, brain disorders and values. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00130

  • Jefferson, A. (2020). What does it take to be a brain disorder? Synthese, 197(1), 249–262. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-018-1784-x

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Jefferson, A., & Sifferd, K. (2018). Are psychopaths legally insane? European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 14(1), 79–96. https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5

    Google Scholar 

  • Jurjako, M. (2019). Is psychopathy a harmful dysfunction? Biology and Philosophy, 34(5). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-018-9668-5

  • Jurjako, M., Malatesti, L., & Brazil, I. A. (2019). Some ethical considerations about the use of biomarkers for the classification of adult antisocial individuals. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 18(3), 228–242. https://doi.org/10.1080/14999013.2018.1485188

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Jurjako, M., Malatesti, L., & Brazil, I. A. (2020). Biocognitive classification of antisocial individuals without explanatory reductionism. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(4), 957–972. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691620904160

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jurjako, M., Malatesti, L., & McMillan, J. (2018). Psychopathy: Philosophical and empirical challenges. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 14(1), 5–14.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kitcher, P. (2001). Science, truth, and democracy. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Krupp, D. B., Sewall, L. A., Lalumière, M. L., Sheriff, C., & Harris, G. T. (2012). Nepotistic patterns of violent psychopathy: Evidence for adaptation? Frontiers in Psychology, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00305

  • Liao, S. M. (Ed.). (2016). Moral brains: The neuroscience of morality. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lieberman, D., & Smith, A. (2012). It’s all relative: Sexual aversions and moral judgments regarding sex among siblings. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(4), 243–247. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721412447620

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Longino, H. E. (2004). How values can be good for science. In P. K. Machamer & G. Wolters (Eds.), Science, values, and objectivity (pp. 127–142). University of Pittsburgh Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maibom, H. L. (2014). To treat a psychopath. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 35(1), 31–42. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11017-014-9281-9

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Maibom, H. L. (2018). What can philosophers learn from psychopathy? European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 14(1), 63–78.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malatesti, L. (2014). Psychopathy and failures of ordinary doing. Etica & Politica/Ethics & Politics, 2, 1138–1152.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malatesti, L., & Baccarini, E. (this volume). The disorder status of psychopathy. In L. Malatesti, J. McMillan, & P. Šustar (Eds.), Psychopathy. Its uses, validity, and status.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malatesti, L., Jurjako, M., & Meynen, G. (2020). The insanity defence without mental illness? Some considerations. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 71, 101571. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2020.101571

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Malatesti, L., & McMillan, J. (2014). Defending psychopathy: An argument from values and moral responsibility. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 35(1), 7–16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11017-014-9277-5

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McKeown, A., & Thomson, N. D. (2019). Psychopathy and intelligence in high-risk violent women. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 30(3), 484–495. https://doi.org/10.1080/14789949.2018.1560487

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • McMillan, J. (this volume). Re-appraising psychopathy. In L. Malatesti, J. McMillan, & P. Šustar (Eds.), Psychopathy. Its uses, validity, and status. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moll, J., de Oliveira-Souza, R., & Eslinger, P. J. (2003). Morals and the human brain: A working model. Neuro Report, 299–305. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001756-200303030-00001

  • Mullen, P. E. (2007). On building arguments on shifting sands. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 14(2), 143–147.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nadelhoffer, T., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. P. (2013). Is psychopathy a mental disease? In N. A. Vincent (Ed.), Neuroscience and legal responsibility (pp. 229–255). Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parhi, K. (2018). Born to be deviant: Histories of the diagnosis of psychopathy in Finland. University of Oulu.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parhi, K., & Pietikainen, P. (2017). Socialising the anti-social: Psychopathy, psychiatry and social engineering in Finland, 1945–1968. Social History of Medicine, 30(3), 637–660. https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkw093

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Powell, R., & Scarffe, E. (2019). Rethinking “disease”: A fresh diagnosis and a new philosophical treatment. Journal of Medical Ethics, 45(9), 579–588. https://doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2019-105465

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Prichard, J. C. (1837). A treatise on insanity and other disorders affecting the mind. Haswell, Barrington, and Haswell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Putnam, H. (2004). The collapse of the fact/value dichotomy and other essays (3. print). Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Railton, P. (2003). Facts, values, and norms: Essays toward a morality of consequence. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511613982

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Raine, A. (2019). The neuromoral theory of antisocial, violent, and psychopathic behavior. Psychiatry Research, 277, 64–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2018.11.025

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rawls, J. (2005). Political liberalism (Expanded ed.). Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reimer, M. (this volume). Psychopathy and personal identity: Implications for medicalization. In L. Malatesti, J. McMillan, & P. Šustar (Eds.), Psychopathy. Its uses, validity, and status. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reimer, M. (2008). Psychopathy without (the language of) disorder. Neuroethics, 1(3), 185–198. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-008-9017-5

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rosenberg Larsen, R. (2018). False-positives in psychopathy assessment: Proposing theory-driven exclusion criteria in research sampling. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 14(1), 33–52.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosenberg Larsen, R. (2020). Psychopathy as moral blindness: A qualifying exploration of the blindness-analogy in psychopathy theory and research. Philosophical Explorations, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/13869795.2020.1799662

  • Rush, B. (2009). An inquiry into the influence of physical causes upon the moral faculty: Delivered before a meeting. BiblioLife.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sadler, J. Z. (2008). Vice and the diagnostic classification of mental disorders: A philosophical case conference. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 15(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1353/ppp.0.0152

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sass, H., & Felthous, A. R. (2014). The heterogeneous construct of psychopathy. In T. Schramme (Ed.), Being amoral: Psychopathy and moral incapacity (pp. 41–68). The MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schramme, T. (Ed.). (2014). Being amoral: Psychopathy and moral incapacity. The MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sedgwick, P. (1973). Illness-mental and otherwise. Hastings Center Studies, 1(3), 19–40.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Spitzer, R. L., & Williams, J. B. (1982). The definition and diagnosis of mental disorder. In W. R. Gove (Ed.), Deviance and mental illness (pp. 15–31). Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stevenson, C. L. (1944). Ethics and language. Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Szasz, T. S. (1974). The myth of mental illness: Foundations of a theory of personal conduct (Rev. ed.). Harper & Row.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tamatea, A. J. (this volume). Humanising psychopathy, or what it means to be diagnosed as a psychopath: Stigma, disempowerment, and scientifically-sanctioned alienation. In L. Malatesti, J. McMillan, & P. Šustar (Eds.), Psychopathy. Its uses, validity, and status. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wakefield, J. C. (1992). The concept of mental disorder. On the boundary between biological facts and social values. The American Psychologist, 47(3), 373–388.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wakefield, J. C. (2014). The biostatistical theory versus the harmful dysfunction analysis, part 1: Is part-dysfunction a sufficient condition for medical disorder? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 39(6), 648–682. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmp/jhu038

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ward, T. (2010). Psychopathy and criminal responsibility in historical perspective. In L. Malatesti & J. McMillan (Eds.), Responsibility and psychopathy: Interfacing law, psychiatry, and philosophy (pp. 7–24). Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weber, M. (2011). Methodology of social sciences. Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wynn, R., & Hoiseth, & Pettersen, G. (2012). Psychopathy in women: Theoretical and clinical perspectives. International Journal of Women’s Health, 257. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S25518

Download references

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to John McMillan for his useful comments on a previous version of this chapter.

LM and MJ’s research is supported by the Croatian Science Foundation (project RAD, HRZZ-IP-2018-01-3518). MJ also thanks the University of Rijeka (project KUBIM, uniri-human-18-265) for financial support, and the hosts of the BIAS institute for their summer hospitality. Preliminary work on this chapter was an outcome of the Project CEASCRO (2014-2018, Croatian Science Foundation, HRZZ-IP-2013-11-8071).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Luca Malatesti .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Jurjako, M., Malatesti, L. (2022). The Value-Ladenness of Psychopathy. In: Malatesti, L., McMillan, J., Šustar, P. (eds) Psychopathy. History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences, vol 27. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82454-9_12

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82454-9_12

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-82453-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-82454-9

  • eBook Packages: MedicineMedicine (R0)