Neuroscience and Moral Responsibility – NYTimes.com

Posted: August 3, 2012 in cognition/consciousness, culture

“naïve dualism”.. is the belief that acts are brought about either by intentions or by the physical laws that govern our brains and that those two types of causes — psychological and biological — are categorically distinct. People are responsible for actions resulting from one but not the other. (In citing neuroscience, the Supreme Court may have been guilty of naïve dualism: did it really need brain evidence to conclude that adolescents are immature?)

Naïve dualism is misguided. “Was the cause psychological or biological?” is the wrong question when assigning responsibility for an action. All psychological states are also biological ones.

A better question is “how strong was the relation between the cause (whatever it happened to be) and the effect?”

via Neuroscience and Moral Responsibility – NYTimes.com.

//”I am patterns of synaptic activity” does not imply “I am not responsible.” – lw

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