Role of Will in a Neuroscientific World

By Markus Prinz

I. Introduction

The debate on the role of neuroscience in the context of the law has crucial repercussions for the notion of legal responsibility. Legal responsibility and moral responsibility are not necessarily analogous; however, there is a strong correlation. Moral responsibility often informs our sense of legal responsibility, but the latter is best understood as a subset of the former. Legal responsibility is less demanding than moral responsibility mainly due to the context of its function: the courtroom. In the courtroom, evidence is the focus of judgments, whereas moral responsibility adjudicates in cases that are purely internal to an agent and transcend evidence. For example, when dealing with virtuous actions, a person probably upholds their legal responsibility when she works in a soup kitchen to feed those in need. If she would be doing so, only for personal benefit (e.g. to look virtuous or solely for economic gain) we would mostly only judge this act deplorable on moral grounds. Conversely, if a person shoots and kills another person, both legally and morally we are interested in the internal workings of the agent. Exculpatory factors derived from impairment of mental faculties, specifically in the legal domain, suggest that committing an act alone is not adequate for justifying the attribution of guilt and responsibility. These are some common conceptions of legal and moral responsibility, many of which rely on some conception of an intentional moral agent that has a will. In this paper, I first examine the text of Greene & Cohen and their conclusion that a shift to a consequentialist justification of punishment follows from a new understanding gained by neuroscience. After criticising their conclusion, I look at an article by Joel Feinberg where he outlines the differences between legal and moral responsibility. This will prepare the ground for considering Levy & Bayne as well as Ryan & Deci who argue that the will is an essential part of our understanding of responsibility and self-determination respectively. Finally, I consider Levy & Bayne’s characterological account and the plausibility it gains in direct balance to the implausibility of Greene & Cohen’s conclusion.

Greene & Cohen describe the dialectic that neuroscience encroaches on in the field of philosophy of law. There are two recourses, (1) discoveries and understanding gained through neuroscience will transform our legal attitude or (2) such a new understanding would only provide details that the current legal framework is adequately able to accommodate. They advocate the latter and take the position that neuroscience will have a transformative effect, “not by undermining [the law’s] current assumptions, but by transforming people’s moral intuitions about free will and responsibility” (Greene and Cohen 1775). They further state that our current legal principles owe their veracity to our intuitive sense of justice. It is this sense of justice that they believe will be transformed by neuroscientific discoveries. To this effect, they conclude our intuition of justice should shift from the use of punishment for retribution to punishment for consequentialist reasons. I will reject the claim that a change in our sense of justice as they describe it would not also affect current legal principles. I will attempt to expose a fundamental intuition that underlies both the current law and our intuitions of justice such that they are interdependent. Further, the arguments of Levy & Bayne 2004 about the indispensability of the will and its role within legal responsibility will add on to this discussion. I will also evaluate the potential of characterological accounts of “will” to pose a viable alternative to switching to the consequentialist solution Green & Cohen suggest to be necessary.

The interest in neuroscience for questions of law follows naturally from the dual component for legal conviction in criminal cases. The defendant must not only be proved to have committed an illegal act, but mens rea must also be established. Greene & Cohen suggest mens rea can be understood narrowly and loosely: Narrowly, Intention and on the other hand loosely as “all mental states consistent with moral and/or legal blame,” (Greene and Cohen 1775). An interest in mental states is evidence of a main assumption inherent in our legal system. This crucial connection is where our dialogue of will is most important. However, I will first outline Greene & Cohen’s theory in more detail before illustrating this point.

II. Legal Principles and Moral Intuitions

Amongst others, there are two premises that the arguments of Greene & Cohen rely upon. First, that science, specifically neuroscience will undermine the common libertarian convictions of free will and take with it the retributivist justification that depends on these convictions. This appears to be an assumption because such a move assumes we can eliminate the will. This is something Adina Roskies (2006) believes neuroscience alone is unable to do. The second premise is that a rejection of common-sense free will and retributivism “[ensues] a shift towards a consequentialist approach to punishment’ (Greene and Cohen 1776). Is this the only other option? Could the characterological approach of Levy & Bayne be plausible and thereby still preserve a notion of will? If so this would weaken Greene & Cohen‘s argument.

With these questions in mind, I will now explicate Greene & Cohen’s position. The conceptual playing field takes shape by contrasting consequentialist and retributivist justifications for punishment. Retributivist justifications of punishment according to Greene & Cohen suffer from an internal tension: compatibilism and incompatibilism of free will with determinism. They argue incompatibilist libertarian intuitions underlie the current law. This is evident, say Green & Cohen, because there is often a gap between moral intuitions and what the law deems relevant (Greene and Cohen 1776).

Greene & Cohen provide critiques of both justifications. Consequentialist justifications are forward-looking. Their aim is to insure future societal welfare but they are susceptible to objections as are most other utilitarian type theories. For many it may appear that utilitarian type theories allow the justification of anything as long as there is a greater benefit to the whole. In the case of legal responsibility, Greene & Cohen admit that “consequentialist theories fail to capture something central to common-sense intuitions about legitimate punishment” (Greene and Cohen 1776). Retributivist justifications are backward-looking and are less concerned with the welfare of society as a whole. Retributivist punishment functions more to remedy a debt that has been incurred by a criminal whether to society or another individual. Their critique of the retributivist justifications focuses on the scepticism of free will in a deterministic world.

What of this deterministic world? On the subject of determinism, they reference Peter van Inwagan (1982): “determinism is true if the world is such that its current state is completely determined by (i) the laws of physics and (ii) past states of the world” (Greene and Cohen 1777). They admit free will is often conceived as the ability to do otherwise, but note that Frankfurt (1966) questions this assumption. Later in the paper, we will consider those implications, which I believe Greene & Cohen have neglected to do. In the end, say Greene & Cohen, there are three main solutions to the problem of free will: hard determinism, libertarianism and compatibilism. They argue for a consequentialist justification for punishment since it is plausible with all three options, whereas retributivist justifications necessitate a stance on free will. They continue to expand their argument by assuming punishment can reasonably only be carried out for actions that are freely willed. Since hard determinism would undermine justification for any punishment and, according to a previous claim, libertarian views are “scientifically suspect” (Greene and Cohen 1778) they conclude that retributivism requires a compatibilist view. However, Green & Cohen believe that neuroscience will increase the tension between the “compatibilist legal principles and libertarian moral intuitions” beyond its breaking point (Ibid.), ending with an inability to support retributivist claims.

An argument that states neuroscience will not change the law (Green & Cohen refer to Morse 2004), maintains the law only requires “a general capacity for rational behaviour” to deem people legally responsible. This means a neurological explanation may well provide better and more detailed evidence of rationality, but it will not fundamentally change the law “unless it shows that people in general fail to meet the law’s very minimal requirements for rationality” (Greene and Cohen 1778). This point will be instrumental in undermining Greene & Cohen’s argument. Proponents of the fact that neuroscience will change the law, says Morse, are often committing the fundamental psycholegal error. If neuroscience provides us with a neuronal explanation of acts committed then one who commits this fallacy would argue that this fact is exculpatory for legal responsibility. However, under the assumption of physicalism, every action is caused in some way by the brain. Thus, establishing a causal relation between brain states and action is not sufficient to bring into play any legal ramifications except perhaps in the case where some brain state sufficiently impairs minimal rationality.

For this reason, Morse believes neuroscience does not pose a challenge to the law, as we currently know it. Greene & Cohen agree in principle with the subtle notion the psycholegal error elucidates but add a distinctive appeal to the moral intuitions and commitments of society. According to Greene & Cohen, “The legitimacy of the law itself depends on its adequately reflecting the moral intuitions and commitments of society. If neuroscience can change those intuitions, then neuroscience can change the law” (Greene and Cohen 1778). To circumscribe these intuitions they say what really matters for responsibility for most people is evidenced by the kinds of disjunctive questions they ask in these situations. Questions such as “was it him, or was it his genes? … Was it him, or was it his brain?” (Greene and Cohen 1778-9)

The example of Mr. Puppet highlights these intuitions. The example also accentuates the disparity between what the law’s interests are and what we intuitively hold to be true about responsibility. The law is interested in establishing minimal rationality as a prerequisite for legal responsibility, but since we can construct hypothetical situations such as Mr. Puppet, where outside control does not come at the cost of impairing rationality it appears that in the face of a deterministic worldview, which precisely postulates outside control, the law seems inadequate in separating these cases. Greene & Cohen put it this way, “rationality is just a presumed correlate of what most people really care about” (Greene and Cohen 1780). This is what underlies the fundamental psycholegal error. We are intuitively opposed to any outside forces that exert control over us, that we are quick to exculpate in any situation where that is the case. Greene & Cohen conclude that we are all similar to Mr. Puppet since determinism is true at least to some degree because of physical laws. Further, free will seems to require actions that are independent of external forces and thus requires us to reject determinism. Since determinism is true to some degree a libertarian free will is a misunderstanding and incompatible with determinism. In principle, I agree with Greene & Cohen that Mr. Puppet brings forth some vital questions about our intuitions, but I believe they have not gone deep enough in investigating a fundamental assumption that both the law and the case of Mr. Puppet share.

They believe that as we discover more about the mechanistic processes about the brain the plausibility of “dualist and libertarian intuitions” will decrease. In this respect, they compare the brain to a bottleneck through which every influence on our behaviour must flow. Neuroscience will provide us with the tools to discover what is going through this bottleneck. In a reflection on how this may play out in the future Greene & Cohen see a time where the dichotomy between the questions of being truly guilty and simply a victim of neuronal and external forces will become obsolete. For this to happen there must be an intermediate step. We need first accept that being a victim of neuronal and external forces is still sufficient for legal responsibility of any kind. Is it possible to preserve a notion of will (whatever its status) and is this perhaps required to justify any sense of being responsible for ones actions? Greene & Cohen themselves sate that “it is possible that we will never be able to fully talk ourselves out of [our intuitive sense of free will]”. (Greene and Cohen 1781). It seems plausible to say that neuroscience may inform and fine-tune our intuitions to some degree in this area. However, the central question for this paper investigates whether its elimination altogether would leave sufficient grounds for the law’s current assumptions.

III. The Case for the Law’s Dependence on Intuitions About Justice

At this point I present an intermittent argument to challenge Greene & Cohen’s conclusion that neuroscience will change our moral intuition but not change the law’s current assumptions. We pick up on the idea of rationality in a setting such as Mr. Puppet. I believe just because neuroscience may show a one-to-one correlation between brain states and actions this does not mean that our actions can be sufficiently explained at the level of a deterministic world. If the functioning within the brain does adhere to some physical laws and even if the outside world has the same physical laws this is not in principle sufficient to conclude that our environment determines our actions. This detail is putatively dismissed by Green & Cohen with the example of Mr. Puppet, and means that their conclusion makes certain implicit assumptions about the phenomenon of will.

Let us be more concrete with some examples. There are two options both in respect to the world and to our brain/mind. Either the world is (1a) determined (knowing the beginning state and all the physical laws that regulate movement to future states) or (1b) it is indetermined. On the other hand, the will could be (2a) libertarian in nature (the possibility of doing otherwise) or (2b) the will could be an illusion (where we at least appear to have the possibility of choosing otherwise) or (2c) there is no will (no moral responsibility). Greene & Cohen believe a determined world eliminates both 2a and 2b. I believe 2b is still a viable option.

To consider this, let us look at external versus internal factors. Feinberg mentions that an external factor (e.g. dust in the eye) can interfere with internal workings such as intentions, but I propose this “interference” only makes sense if the internal processes are viewed as self-contained and not just an extension of the external (determined or indetermined) world.

Thus, if neuroscience were to reveal that our will can be reduced to determined brain states we would still be interested in one person’s specific brain state for questions of moral or legal responsibility. It would not make sense to ask what the state of the world is in our attempt to discover what this person’s particular role was in the deterministic world and from this make an inference about responsibility. This illuminates a fundamental assumption, precisely, that looking at a particular part of the causal network (e.g. the individual’s brain) has more moral significance than the world at large. I believe this is a fundamental assumption the law makes. However, the kind of justice that Greene & Cohen support when they suggest that consequentialist justifications for punishment are the only plausible ones in face of a deterministic worldview undermines this assumption. Thus, they are presupposing that we would accept such a view of justice to argue that neuroscience will lead us to change our intuitions in precisely that direction. It is also possible that our intuitions about justice and more specifically our intuitions about individuality prevent us from conceiving of ourselves as simply a physical extension of the world, even if this world were to be physically determined.

The fact that the current law is interested in the internal as exemplified in the individual brain precludes such a conception of justice. Specifically, on Greene & Cohen’s account, the law’s assumptions center on the question of rationality. Recall, Morse’s statement about minimal rationality. I propose that this rationality is a question of the internal and individual brain state as opposed to a question about the world at large. Therefore, if Greene & Cohen were to suggest that our sense of justice were to change in the way they propose then this would mean “we all lack minimal rationality.” On the other hand, if we would like to argue that the law’s current assumptions are unaffected, then we must be able to maintain individuality, which has the correlate of will despite an externally determined world.

Rationality in the abstract is behaviour or reasoning that is precisely not just based on external influences. Can nature be rational? Would an earthquake be morally responsible for the deaths it caused? These two questions alone illustrate the intuitions we have about justice. If the law establishes a difference between nature at large and us as people (moral agents, who are rational) this distinction itself is witness that at least in principle there is a separate standard that we apply in the case of assumed intentional agents in both the areas of moral and legal responsibility. Using this terminology, I believe Greene & Cohen wish to say that neuroscience will demonstrate that there are no moral agents therefore we need consequentialist justifications for punishment. Does this then not change the fundamental assumptions underlying current law?

It may be possible that neuroscience reveals that we are just an extension of a determined environment. We can then either continue with an illusion to maintain our intuitions (N.J. Block (1971) makes an argument for the compatibility of mechanistic and teleological explanations of behaviour), or we can change our intuitions, but then we will also affect the law’s current assumptions. More so, because of the interconnectedness of rationality, individuality and moral agency it appears implausible to change our notion of justice without also fundamentally challenging the law’s current assumptions.

IV. Eliminating the Will

To bring forth the complexity that underlies our intuitive sense of free will Greene & Cohen delve into a psychological analysis of our perceptions of inanimate objects versus those that appear to move around at will. To make sense of the behaviour of different objects in the world our minds, say Greene & Cohen have developed two distinct cognitive systems. In this fundamental folk psychological intuition, we find the grounds for the psycholegal error. A moral agent must necessarily be seen as having a mind that acts as its own cause. Determinism would clearly undermine our attribution of such minds and thus challenge our attribution of responsibility. Greene & Cohen themselves on the topic of eliminating the will include this passage:

“many compatibilists sceptically ask what would it mean to give up on free will. Were we to give it up, wouldn’t we have to immediately reinvent it? Does not every decision involve an implicit commitment to the idea of free will? And how else would we distinguish between ordinary rational adults and other individuals, such as young children and the mentally ill, whose will – or whatever you want to call it – is clearly compromised? Free will, compatibilists argue, is here to stay, and the challenge for science is to figure out how exactly it works and not to peddle silly arguments that deny the undeniable (Dennett 2003)” (Greene and Cohen 1777)

For Greene & Cohen, the compromise that allows responsibility despite a lack of free will is exemplified with a consequentialist justification for punishment. They conclude that neuroscience will not change the law, because the law’s concerns lay elsewhere, but that the underlying intuitions or moral responsibility will change by what neuroscience can bring to the table. Free will is an illusion and our intuitions will ultimately have to change from retributivist to consequentialist justifications for punishment.

I have already made a case for a dependency of the law on our moral intuitions. Now that we have analyzed Greene & Cohen’s argument in depth, and argued against a change of intuitions that still preserves the current law, we can address the claims they have made with regard to the will. The heart of their argument depends on challenging the conception of free will. At this point, it is helpful to consider the difference between free will and will proper. Greene & Cohen’s dialectic focuses on free will since they wish to pin this against a deterministic worldview. Do they also mean to eliminate a psychological understanding of action in terms of will? Are free will and will proper synonymous, or can we derive an explanation of action in terms of will that is compatible with determinism? These questions force us to ask what it is about will that is so important in our conception of moral agency. A firm stand on this issue will help us gage the extent of influence neuroscientific discoveries may have. To help in elucidating this issue we must certainly consider the contribution of Harry Frankfurt. I believe it is plausible to take the view of Frankfurt with respect to free will combined with neurological explanations to preserve a sense of will. We shall also consider the option of replacing will with a characterological account.

First, we delineate moral responsibility by considering Feinberg; in Problematic Responsibility in Law and Morals, he provides a detailed discussion. The greatest factor separating legal and moral responsibility according to Feinberg is that “judgments of legal responsibility are strongly influenced by ulterior practical purposes” (Feinberg 341). These practical concerns deal with the inherent vagueness in judging “how … losses can best be distributed and whether certain kinds of risk-taking are to be encouraged or deterred” (Feinberg 343). Punishment and compensation are further practical concerns that a legal system must deal with (Feinberg 343). Moral responsibility according to Feinberg has many unique aspects. At large, it is “liability to charges and credits on some ideal record” (Feinberg 345). The exactness that legal questions demand such as the year and a day rule (to determine if an act contributed to a death) is inappropriate when considering moral responsibility. However moral responsibility is in principal precisely decidable as it must be read off facts and deduced from them. Further, moral judgments are “absolute” in contrast to legal judgments. Legal judgments are not as strong, since they only say the agent had an “‘important’ contribution for the purpose of the law” (Feinberg 345). Finally, moral responsibility must deliver regular and predictable judgments that are not subject to luck (Feinberg 346).

Feinberg asserts that in many situations it may be impossible to make moral judgments, since actions are not the only contributor to the outcome. Being “at fault” and moral responsibility are not identical. “A person can well be morally at fault in what he does without being morally responsible for some given harm” (Feinberg 347). Our intuition about morality is that “moral responsibility for external harm makes no sense, … moral responsibility is therefore restricted to the inner world of the mind, where the agent rules supreme and luck has no place” (Ibid.). He further mentions that this is where volition is undertaken and intentions formed where an agent “govern[s] those inner thoughts and volitions which are completely subject to [her] control” (Ibid.)

Even though moral responsibility primarily looks towards the inner workings Feinberg continues and shows how even moral responsibility can be susceptible to an outside influence (e.g. luck) such as a speck of dust in one’s eye that interrupts someone’s rage from progressing (Feinberg 349). Feinberg notices it is odd to speak of responsibility for one’s intentions, but: “having a character of a certain sort is often a necessary condition for the forming of any particular intention” (Ibid.). By hypothesizing two agents with similar character but different intentions formed (due to external influence), Feinberg concludes that responsibility is not derived from character alone, but rather from how important of a contributor the character was in the particular situation (Feinberg 350). By making a list of possible contributors towards forming a certain intention despite character Feinberg points out that some of these contributing factors are external in nature (ie. Upset stomach, rude remarks, hyperactive adrenal gland). In this sense, we arrive at the same problem as with legal responsibility; (Feinberg 350-1) the problem of exactness and balancing factors that have contributed to the intention. Feinberg’s final and central claim is that it is a “mistake to think that by restricting responsibility to an inner jurisdiction we can thereby make precise its vaguenesses [sic]and eliminate its contingencies [sic]” (Feinberg 351). This illustrates some of the similarities between legal and moral responsibility.

What of the balance between internal and external factors? What Morse calls the fundamental psycholegal error is summed up by “regard[ing] actions only as fully free when those actions are seen as robust against determination by external forces” (Greene and Cohen 1780). This is evidence to their anti-compatibilist tendencies. Most of their discussion looks at the role of free will. They believe libertarian conceptions of free will are in contradiction with neuroscience. (Ibid.) Ryan & Deci hash out what kind of understanding of will can stand in the face of neuroscience. They agree that the understanding of Descartes postulating a force that tilts the mechanical processes in the brain is such a version of the will that cannot stand up to neuroscience (Ryan and Deci 1571). In their discussion on autonomy, Ryan & Deci explore several philosophical notions to define autonomy. Both from a phenomenological perspective and modern analytical approaches we see that independence from external influences or constraints is not necessary to have autonomy. In both cases, assent or consent to these influences is sufficient for autonomy (Ryan and Deci 1560-2). The self-determination theory (SDT) of autonomy is used in discussions of psychological aspects relevant to autonomy. In this context the opposite of autonomy, heteronomy, is defined as “regulation…by forces experienced as alien or pressuring, be they inner impulses or demands, or external contingencies” (Ryan and Deci 1562). Ryan & Deci bring further depth to an understanding of autonomy. Instead of an all or nothing autonomy, they propose that “within SDT, autonomy for any given action is a matter of degree” (Ryan and Deci 1563). If this is the case, it makes the dispute between proponents of will-talk and those that maintain it to be an illusion more complex.

Both the notions that Feinberg and Ryan & Deci bring forth show that despite external influences (even inner workings of the brain) our intuitions still support an investigation of intention. Even though Feinberg admits our character can be influenced by alien forces it is a determination of the degree of influence that has a bearing on responsibility. The term “will” can thus be understood as an overarching term, a mental place holder, that bears testimony to a fundamental assumption underlying our intuitions about responsibility.

V. The Charaterological Account

Levy & Bayne bring to the table examples of pathologies of the will. Since it is our purpose to argue for behaviour with the aid of the notion of will it would be begging the question to speak of pathologies of the “will”. Thus, we will consider the example of Levy & Bayne as pathologies of the common notion of agency. If we succeed in showing that these pathologies indispensably require the notion of will to make them intelligible then we would succeeded in opening the way for the indispensability of the will. Evaluating this claim, however, is not within the scope of this paper, rather, if we can show that the characterological account of the will, which Levy & Bayne provide is sufficient for maintaining a retributivist justification of punishment we have still weakened the claim of Greene & Cohen.

We begin by looking at the argument of Levy & Bayne. A very helpful distinction they make is to separate the notion of will into three senses of the notion: genesis of action, phenomenology of agency and degree of effort. For responsibility Levy & Bayne maintain that an agent must “exercise a certain form (or degree) of control” (Levy and Bayne 465). They then discuss the situation of loss of control. If rational control is required for responsibility there can be two “disorders of control” namely failures of authority and failures of inhibition. Failures of authority: “call[s] into question the ascription of the action to the agent” (Ibid.). Failures of inhibition: the action is ascribed to the agent, but the agent “has lost rational control over their actions” (Ibid.). They also note that there is a parallel between the depletion of rationality in delusional persons and the impaired agency at the root of pathologies of the will.

Since much rests on the ability of control Levy & Bayne, strongly link this capacity with responsibility. They then continue to offer another possibility in the form of a characterological account that maintains a notion of responsibility despite a lack of traditional control over one’s actions. Frankfurt is instrumental in providing an example where this would be desired. Levy & Bayne summarize this contribution of Frankfurt by saying “rather than identify an agent’s character with the mechanisms that underlie the normal control of their actions….agents are fully responsible for their actions only if they are the product of desires that they endorse” (Levy and Bayne 467). On this account, the notion of will could simply correspond to an endorsement of actions. This would be similar to Ryan & Deci’s self-determination theory. Hereby we rescue retributivist justifications by appeal to character. This only leaves the problem of adjudicating between a lack of the capacities of self-control and the degree to which they have been exercised to determine whether an agent endorses an action (Levy and Bayne 468).

VI. Conclusion

I thus conclude that elimination of will may not prevent a model of legal/moral responsibility, but doing so would change the current intuitions about moral responsibility quite extremely. The discoveries of neuroscience will not be sufficient to change our moral intuitions to such a degree, especially because we have other alternative ways of conceiving will that preserve the underlying libertarian intuitions. Even in the case where alien influences on our will challenge our libertarian intuitions, Frankfurt and Levy & Bayne offer responsibility grounded in character. Inclusion of will is a prima facie requirement for legal responsibility, but even if a libertarian will cannot be supported it is not necessary to adopt a consequentialist justification for punishment. Finally, if this strong conclusion is unconvincing I propose that the will is at minimum a critical notion that functions as a mental placeholder to make discussions of legal/moral responsibility intelligible, since moral responsibility conceptually requires an intentional agent. Thus, even in a consequentialist justification we would need to acknowledge moral agents if we want to have a conception of what is best for a society of intentional agents.

References

Feinberg, Joel. “Problematic Responsibility in Law and Morals.” The Philosophical Review July 1962: 340-351.

Frankfurt, Harry G. “Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.” The Journal of Philosophy (1969): 829-839.

Golding, Martin P. “Responsibility.” The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory. Ed. M. Golding and W. Edmunson. 2006. 236-247.

Greene, Joshua and Jonathan Cohen. “For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything.” The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (2004): 1775-1785.

Levy, Neil and Tim Bayne. “A will of one’s own: Consciousness, control, and character.” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry (2004): 459-470.

Morse, Stephen J. “Moral and legal responsibility and the new neuroscience.” Neuroethics. Defining the issues in theory, practice and policy. Oxford University Press, 2006. 33-49.

Roskies, Adina. “Neuroscientific Challenges to Free Will and Responsibility.” TRENDS in Cognitive Science 10.9 (2006): 419-423.

Ryan, Richard M. and Edward L. Deci. “Self-Regulation and the Problem of Human Autonomy: Does Psychology Need Choice, Self-Determination, and Will?” Journal of Personality (2006): 1557-1585.

Markus Prinz (’09) is a Philosophy Major at McGill University.

INTRODUCTION

The debate on the role of neuroscience in the context of the law has crucial repercussions for the notion of legal responsibility. Legal responsibility and moral responsibility are not necessarily analogous; however, there is a strong correlation. Moral responsibility often informs our sense of legal responsibility, but the latter is best understood as a subset of the former. Legal responsibility is less demanding than moral responsibility mainly due to the context of its function: the courtroom. In the courtroom, evidence is the focus of judgments, whereas moral responsibility adjudicates in cases that are purely internal to an agent and transcend evidence. For example, when dealing with virtuous actions, a person probably upholds their legal responsibility when she works in a soup kitchen to feed those in need. If she would be doing so, only for personal benefit (e.g. to look virtuous or solely for economic gain) we would mostly only judge this act deplorable on moral grounds. Conversely, if a person shoots and kills another person, both legally and morally we are interested in the internal workings of the agent. Exculpatory factors derived from impairment of mental faculties, specifically in the legal domain, suggest that committing an act alone is not adequate for justifying the attribution of guilt and responsibility. These are some common conceptions of legal and moral responsibility, many of which rely on some conception of an intentional moral agent that has a will. In this paper, I first examine the text of Greene & Cohen and their conclusion that a shift to a consequentialist justification of punishment follows from a new understanding gained by neuroscience. After criticising their conclusion, I look at an article by Joel Feinberg where he outlines the differences between legal and moral responsibility. This will prepare the ground for considering Levy & Bayne as well as Ryan & Deci who argue that the will is an essential part of our understanding of responsibility and self-determination respectively. Finally, I consider Levy & Bayne’s characterological account and the plausibility it gains in direct balance to the implausibility of Greene & Cohen’s conclusion.

Greene & Cohen describe the dialectic that neuroscience encroaches on in the field of philosophy of law. There are two recourses, (1) discoveries and understanding gained through neuroscience will transform our legal attitude or (2) such a new understanding would only provide details that the current legal framework is adequately able to accommodate. They advocate the latter and take the position that neuroscience will have a transformative effect, “not by undermining [the law’s] current assumptions, but by transforming people’s moral intuitions about free will and responsibility” (Greene and Cohen 1775). They further state that our current legal principles owe their veracity to our intuitive sense of justice. It is this sense of justice that they believe will be transformed by neuroscientific discoveries. To this effect, they conclude our intuition of justice should shift from the use of punishment for retribution to punishment for consequentialist reasons. I will reject the claim that a change in our sense of justice as they describe it would not also affect current legal principles. I will attempt to expose a fundamental intuition that underlies both the current law and our intuitions of justice such that they are interdependent. Further, the arguments of Levy & Bayne 2004 about the indispensability of the will and its role within legal responsibility will add on to this discussion. I will also evaluate the potential of characterological accounts of “will” to pose a viable alternative to switching to the consequentialist solution Green & Cohen suggest to be necessary.

The interest in neuroscience for questions of law follows naturally from the dual component for legal conviction in criminal cases. The defendant must not only be proved to have committed an illegal act, but mens rea must also be established. Greene & Cohen suggest mens rea can be understood narrowly and loosely: Narrowly, Intention and on the other hand loosely as “all mental states consistent with moral and/or legal blame,” (Greene and Cohen 1775). An interest in mental states is evidence of a main assumption inherent in our legal system. This crucial connection is where our dialogue of will is most important. However, I will first outline Greene & Cohen’s theory in more detail before illustrating this point.

LEGAL PRINCIPLES AND MORAL INTUITIONS

Amongst others, there are two premises that the arguments of Greene & Cohen rely upon. First, that science, specifically neuroscience will undermine the common libertarian convictions of free will and take with it the retributivist justification that depends on these convictions. This appears to be an assumption because such a move assumes we can eliminate the will. This is something Adina Roskies (2006) believes neuroscience alone is unable to do. The second premise is that a rejection of common-sense free will and retributivism “[ensues] a shift towards a consequentialist approach to punishment’ (Greene and Cohen 1776). Is this the only other option? Could the characterological approach of Levy & Bayne be plausible and thereby still preserve a notion of will? If so this would weaken Greene & Cohen‘s argument.

With these questions in mind, I will now explicate Greene & Cohen’s position. The conceptual playing field takes shape by contrasting consequentialist and retributivist justifications for punishment. Retributivist justifications of punishment according to Greene & Cohen suffer from an internal tension: compatibilism and incompatibilism of free will with determinism. They argue incompatibilist libertarian intuitions underlie the current law. This is evident, say Green & Cohen, because there is often a gap between moral intuitions and what the law deems relevant (Greene and Cohen 1776).

Greene & Cohen provide critiques of both justifications. Consequentialist justifications are forward-looking. Their aim is to insure future societal welfare but they are susceptible to objections as are most other utilitarian type theories. For many it may appear that utilitarian type theories allow the justification of anything as long as there is a greater benefit to the whole. In the case of legal responsibility, Greene & Cohen admit that “consequentialist theories fail to capture something central to common-sense intuitions about legitimate punishment” (Greene and Cohen 1776). Retributivist justifications are backward-looking and are less concerned with the welfare of society as a whole. Retributivist punishment functions more to remedy a debt that has been incurred by a criminal whether to society or another individual. Their critique of the retributivist justifications focuses on the scepticism of free will in a deterministic world.

What of this deterministic world? On the subject of determinism, they reference Peter van Inwagan (1982): “determinism is true if the world is such that its current state is completely determined by (i) the laws of physics and (ii) past states of the world” (Greene and Cohen 1777). They admit free will is often conceived as the ability to do otherwise, but note that Frankfurt (1966) questions this assumption. Later in the paper, we will consider those implications, which I believe Greene & Cohen have neglected to do. In the end, say Greene & Cohen, there are three main solutions to the problem of free will: hard determinism, libertarianism and compatibilism. They argue for a consequentialist justification for punishment since it is plausible with all three options, whereas retributivist justifications necessitate a stance on free will. They continue to expand their argument by assuming punishment can reasonably only be carried out for actions that are freely willed. Since hard determinism would undermine justification for any punishment and, according to a previous claim, libertarian views are “scientifically suspect” (Greene and Cohen 1778) they conclude that retributivism requires a compatibilist view. However, Green & Cohen believe that neuroscience will increase the tension between the “compatibilist legal principles and libertarian moral intuitions” beyond its breaking point (Ibid.), ending with an inability to support retributivist claims.

An argument that states neuroscience will not change the law (Green & Cohen refer to Morse 2004), maintains the law only requires “a general capacity for rational behaviour” to deem people legally responsible. This means a neurological explanation may well provide better and more detailed evidence of rationality, but it will not fundamentally change the law “unless it shows that people in general fail to meet the law’s very minimal requirements for rationality” (Greene and Cohen 1778). This point will be instrumental in undermining Greene & Cohen’s argument. Proponents of the fact that neuroscience will change the law, says Morse, are often committing the fundamental psycholegal error. If neuroscience provides us with a neuronal explanation of acts committed then one who commits this fallacy would argue that this fact is exculpatory for legal responsibility. However, under the assumption of physicalism, every action is caused in some way by the brain. Thus, establishing a causal relation between brain states and action is not sufficient to bring into play any legal ramifications except perhaps in the case where some brain state sufficiently impairs minimal rationality.

For this reason, Morse believes neuroscience does not pose a challenge to the law, as we currently know it. Greene & Cohen agree in principle with the subtle notion the psycholegal error elucidates but add a distinctive appeal to the moral intuitions and commitments of society. According to Greene & Cohen, “The legitimacy of the law itself depends on its adequately reflecting the moral intuitions and commitments of society. If neuroscience can change those intuitions, then neuroscience can change the law” (Greene and Cohen 1778). To circumscribe these intuitions they say what really matters for responsibility for most people is evidenced by the kinds of disjunctive questions they ask in these situations. Questions such as “was it him, or was it his genes? … Was it him, or was it his brain?” (Greene and Cohen 1778-9)

The example of Mr. Puppet highlights these intuitions. The example also accentuates the disparity between what the law’s interests are and what we intuitively hold to be true about responsibility. The law is interested in establishing minimal rationality as a prerequisite for legal responsibility, but since we can construct hypothetical situations such as Mr. Puppet, where outside control does not come at the cost of impairing rationality it appears that in the face of a deterministic worldview, which precisely postulates outside control, the law seems inadequate in separating these cases. Greene & Cohen put it this way, “rationality is just a presumed correlate of what most people really care about” (Greene and Cohen 1780). This is what underlies the fundamental psycholegal error. We are intuitively opposed to any outside forces that exert control over us, that we are quick to exculpate in any situation where that is the case. Greene & Cohen conclude that we are all similar to Mr. Puppet since determinism is true at least to some degree because of physical laws. Further, free will seems to require actions that are independent of external forces and thus requires us to reject determinism. Since determinism is true to some degree a libertarian free will is a misunderstanding and incompatible with determinism. In principle, I agree with Greene & Cohen that Mr. Puppet brings forth some vital questions about our intuitions, but I believe they have not gone deep enough in investigating a fundamental assumption that both the law and the case of Mr. Puppet share.

They believe that as we discover more about the mechanistic processes about the brain the plausibility of “dualist and libertarian intuitions” will decrease. In this respect, they compare the brain to a bottleneck through which every influence on our behaviour must flow. Neuroscience will provide us with the tools to discover what is going through this bottleneck. In a reflection on how this may play out in the future Greene & Cohen see a time where the dichotomy between the questions of being truly guilty and simply a victim of neuronal and external forces will become obsolete. For this to happen there must be an intermediate step. We need first accept that being a victim of neuronal and external forces is still sufficient for legal responsibility of any kind. Is it possible to preserve a notion of will (whatever its status) and is this perhaps required to justify any sense of being responsible for ones actions? Greene & Cohen themselves sate that “it is possible that we will never be able to fully talk ourselves out of [our intuitive sense of free will]”. (Greene and Cohen 1781). It seems plausible to say that neuroscience may inform and fine-tune our intuitions to some degree in this area. However, the central question for this paper investigates whether its elimination altogether would leave sufficient grounds for the law’s current assumptions.

THE CASE FOR THE LAW’S DEPENDENCE ON INTUITIONS ABOUT JUSTICE

At this point I present an intermittent argument to challenge Greene & Cohen’s conclusion that neuroscience will change our moral intuition but not change the law’s current assumptions. We pick up on the idea of rationality in a setting such as Mr. Puppet. I believe just because neuroscience may show a one-to-one correlation between brain states and actions this does not mean that our actions can be sufficiently explained at the level of a deterministic world. If the functioning within the brain does adhere to some physical laws and even if the outside world has the same physical laws this is not in principle sufficient to conclude that our environment determines our actions. This detail is putatively dismissed by Green & Cohen with the example of Mr. Puppet, and means that their conclusion makes certain implicit assumptions about the phenomenon of will.

Let us be more concrete with some examples. There are two options both in respect to the world and to our brain/mind. Either the world is (1a) determined (knowing the beginning state and all the physical laws that regulate movement to future states) or (1b) it is indetermined. On the other hand, the will could be (2a) libertarian in nature (the possibility of doing otherwise) or (2b) the will could be an illusion (where we at least appear to have the possibility of choosing otherwise) or (2c) there is no will (no moral responsibility). Greene & Cohen believe a determined world eliminates both 2a and 2b. I believe 2b is still a viable option.

To consider this, let us look at external versus internal factors. Feinberg mentions that an external factor (e.g. dust in the eye) can interfere with internal workings such as intentions, but I propose this “interference” only makes sense if the internal processes are viewed as self-contained and not just an extension of the external (determined or indetermined) world.

Thus, if neuroscience were to reveal that our will can be reduced to determined brain states we would still be interested in one person’s specific brain state for questions of moral or legal responsibility. It would not make sense to ask what the state of the world is in our attempt to discover what this person’s particular role was in the deterministic world and from this make an inference about responsibility. This illuminates a fundamental assumption, precisely, that looking at a particular part of the causal network (e.g. the individual’s brain) has more moral significance than the world at large. I believe this is a fundamental assumption the law makes. However, the kind of justice that Greene & Cohen support when they suggest that consequentialist justifications for punishment are the only plausible ones in face of a deterministic worldview undermines this assumption. Thus, they are presupposing that we would accept such a view of justice to argue that neuroscience will lead us to change our intuitions in precisely that direction. It is also possible that our intuitions about justice and more specifically our intuitions about individuality prevent us from conceiving of ourselves as simply a physical extension of the world, even if this world were to be physically determined.

The fact that the current law is interested in the internal as exemplified in the individual brain precludes such a conception of justice. Specifically, on Greene & Cohen’s account, the law’s assumptions center on the question of rationality. Recall, Morse’s statement about minimal rationality. I propose that this rationality is a question of the internal and individual brain state as opposed to a question about the world at large. Therefore, if Greene & Cohen were to suggest that our sense of justice were to change in the way they propose then this would mean “we all lack minimal rationality.” On the other hand, if we would like to argue that the law’s current assumptions are unaffected, then we must be able to maintain individuality, which has the correlate of will despite an externally determined world.

Rationality in the abstract is behaviour or reasoning that is precisely not just based on external influences. Can nature be rational? Would an earthquake be morally responsible for the deaths it caused? These two questions alone illustrate the intuitions we have about justice. If the law establishes a difference between nature at large and us as people (moral agents, who are rational) this distinction itself is witness that at least in principle there is a separate standard that we apply in the case of assumed intentional agents in both the areas of moral and legal responsibility. Using this terminology, I believe Greene & Cohen wish to say that neuroscience will demonstrate that there are no moral agents therefore we need consequentialist justifications for punishment. Does this then not change the fundamental assumptions underlying current law?

It may be possible that neuroscience reveals that we are just an extension of a determined environment. We can then either continue with an illusion to maintain our intuitions (N.J. Block (1971) makes an argument for the compatibility of mechanistic and teleological explanations of behaviour), or we can change our intuitions, but then we will also affect the law’s current assumptions. More so, because of the interconnectedness of rationality, individuality and moral agency it appears implausible to change our notion of justice without also fundamentally challenging the law’s current assumptions.

ELIMINATING THE WILL

To bring forth the complexity that underlies our intuitive sense of free will Greene & Cohen delve into a psychological analysis of our perceptions of inanimate objects versus those that appear to move around at will. To make sense of the behaviour of different objects in the world our minds, say Greene & Cohen have developed two distinct cognitive systems. In this fundamental folk psychological intuition, we find the grounds for the psycholegal error. A moral agent must necessarily be seen as having a mind that acts as its own cause. Determinism would clearly undermine our attribution of such minds and thus challenge our attribution of responsibility. Greene & Cohen themselves on the topic of eliminating the will include this passage:

“many compatibilists sceptically ask what would it mean to give up on free will. Were we to give it up, wouldn’t we have to immediately reinvent it? Does not every decision involve an implicit commitment to the idea of free will? And how else would we distinguish between ordinary rational adults and other individuals, such as young children and the mentally ill, whose will – or whatever you want to call it – is clearly compromised? Free will, compatibilists argue, is here to stay, and the challenge for science is to figure out how exactly it works and not to peddle silly arguments that deny the undeniable (Dennett 2003)” (Greene and Cohen 1777)

For Greene & Cohen, the compromise that allows responsibility despite a lack of free will is exemplified with a consequentialist justification for punishment. They conclude that neuroscience will not change the law, because the law’s concerns lay elsewhere, but that the underlying intuitions or moral responsibility will change by what neuroscience can bring to the table. Free will is an illusion and our intuitions will ultimately have to change from retributivist to consequentialist justifications for punishment.

I have already made a case for a dependency of the law on our moral intuitions. Now that we have analyzed Greene & Cohen’s argument in depth, and argued against a change of intuitions that still preserves the current law, we can address the claims they have made with regard to the will. The heart of their argument depends on challenging the conception of free will. At this point, it is helpful to consider the difference between free will and will proper. Greene & Cohen’s dialectic focuses on free will since they wish to pin this against a deterministic worldview. Do they also mean to eliminate a psychological understanding of action in terms of will? Are free will and will proper synonymous, or can we derive an explanation of action in terms of will that is compatible with determinism? These questions force us to ask what it is about will that is so important in our conception of moral agency. A firm stand on this issue will help us gage the extent of influence neuroscientific discoveries may have. To help in elucidating this issue we must certainly consider the contribution of Harry Frankfurt. I believe it is plausible to take the view of Frankfurt with respect to free will combined with neurological explanations to preserve a sense of will. We shall also consider the option of replacing will with a characterological account.

First, we delineate moral responsibility by considering Feinberg; in Problematic Responsibility in Law and Morals, he provides a detailed discussion. The greatest factor separating legal and moral responsibility according to Feinberg is that “judgments of legal responsibility are strongly influenced by ulterior practical purposes” (Feinberg 341). These practical concerns deal with the inherent vagueness in judging “how … losses can best be distributed and whether certain kinds of risk-taking are to be encouraged or deterred” (Feinberg 343). Punishment and compensation are further practical concerns that a legal system must deal with (Feinberg 343). Moral responsibility according to Feinberg has many unique aspects. At large, it is “liability to charges and credits on some ideal record” (Feinberg 345). The exactness that legal questions demand such as the year and a day rule (to determine if an act contributed to a death) is inappropriate when considering moral responsibility. However moral responsibility is in principal precisely decidable as it must be read off facts and deduced from them. Further, moral judgments are “absolute” in contrast to legal judgments. Legal judgments are not as strong, since they only say the agent had an “‘important’ contribution for the purpose of the law” (Feinberg 345). Finally, moral responsibility must deliver regular and predictable judgments that are not subject to luck (Feinberg 346).

Feinberg asserts that in many situations it may be impossible to make moral judgments, since actions are not the only contributor to the outcome. Being “at fault” and moral responsibility are not identical. “A person can well be morally at fault in what he does without being morally responsible for some given harm” (Feinberg 347). Our intuition about morality is that “moral responsibility for external harm makes no sense, … moral responsibility is therefore restricted to the inner world of the mind, where the agent rules supreme and luck has no place” (Ibid.). He further mentions that this is where volition is undertaken and intentions formed where an agent “govern[s] those inner thoughts and volitions which are completely subject to [her] control” (Ibid.)

Even though moral responsibility primarily looks towards the inner workings Feinberg continues and shows how even moral responsibility can be susceptible to an outside influence (e.g. luck) such as a speck of dust in one’s eye that interrupts someone’s rage from progressing (Feinberg 349). Feinberg notices it is odd to speak of responsibility for one’s intentions, but: “having a character of a certain sort is often a necessary condition for the forming of any particular intention” (Ibid.). By hypothesizing two agents with similar character but different intentions formed (due to external influence), Feinberg concludes that responsibility is not derived from character alone, but rather from how important of a contributor the character was in the particular situation (Feinberg 350). By making a list of possible contributors towards forming a certain intention despite character Feinberg points out that some of these contributing factors are external in nature (ie. Upset stomach, rude remarks, hyperactive adrenal gland). In this sense, we arrive at the same problem as with legal responsibility; (Feinberg 350-1) the problem of exactness and balancing factors that have contributed to the intention. Feinberg’s final and central claim is that it is a “mistake to think that by restricting responsibility to an inner jurisdiction we can thereby make precise its vaguenesses [sic]and eliminate its contingencies [sic]” (Feinberg 351). This illustrates some of the similarities between legal and moral responsibility.

What of the balance between internal and external factors? What Morse calls the fundamental psycholegal error is summed up by “regard[ing] actions only as fully free when those actions are seen as robust against determination by external forces” (Greene and Cohen 1780). This is evidence to their anti-compatibilist tendencies. Most of their discussion looks at the role of free will. They believe libertarian conceptions of free will are in contradiction with neuroscience. (Ibid.) Ryan & Deci hash out what kind of understanding of will can stand in the face of neuroscience. They agree that the understanding of Descartes postulating a force that tilts the mechanical processes in the brain is such a version of the will that cannot stand up to neuroscience (Ryan and Deci 1571). In their discussion on autonomy, Ryan & Deci explore several philosophical notions to define autonomy. Both from a phenomenological perspective and modern analytical approaches we see that independence from external influences or constraints is not necessary to have autonomy. In both cases, assent or consent to these influences is sufficient for autonomy (Ryan and Deci 1560-2). The self-determination theory (SDT) of autonomy is used in discussions of psychological aspects relevant to autonomy. In this context the opposite of autonomy, heteronomy, is defined as “regulation…by forces experienced as alien or pressuring, be they inner impulses or demands, or external contingencies” (Ryan and Deci 1562). Ryan & Deci bring further depth to an understanding of autonomy. Instead of an all or nothing autonomy, they propose that “within SDT, autonomy for any given action is a matter of degree” (Ryan and Deci 1563). If this is the case, it makes the dispute between proponents of will-talk and those that maintain it to be an illusion more complex.

Both the notions that Feinberg and Ryan & Deci bring forth show that despite external influences (even inner workings of the brain) our intuitions still support an investigation of intention. Even though Feinberg admits our character can be influenced by alien forces it is a determination of the degree of influence that has a bearing on responsibility. The term “will” can thus be understood as an overarching term, a mental place holder, that bears testimony to a fundamental assumption underlying our intuitions about responsibility.

THE CHARATEROLOGICAL ACCOUNT

Levy & Bayne bring to the table examples of pathologies of the will. Since it is our purpose to argue for behaviour with the aid of the notion of will it would be begging the question to speak of pathologies of the “will”. Thus, we will consider the example of Levy & Bayne as pathologies of the common notion of agency. If we succeed in showing that these pathologies indispensably require the notion of will to make them intelligible then we would succeeded in opening the way for the indispensability of the will. Evaluating this claim, however, is not within the scope of this paper, rather, if we can show that the characterological account of the will, which Levy & Bayne provide is sufficient for maintaining a retributivist justification of punishment we have still weakened the claim of Greene & Cohen.

We begin by looking at the argument of Levy & Bayne. A very helpful distinction they make is to separate the notion of will into three senses of the notion: genesis of action, phenomenology of agency and degree of effort. For responsibility Levy & Bayne maintain that an agent must “exercise a certain form (or degree) of control” (Levy and Bayne 465). They then discuss the situation of loss of control. If rational control is required for responsibility there can be two “disorders of control” namely failures of authority and failures of inhibition. Failures of authority: “call[s] into question the ascription of the action to the agent” (Ibid.). Failures of inhibition: the action is ascribed to the agent, but the agent “has lost rational control over their actions” (Ibid.). They also note that there is a parallel between the depletion of rationality in delusional persons and the impaired agency at the root of pathologies of the will.

Since much rests on the ability of control Levy & Bayne, strongly link this capacity with responsibility. They then continue to offer another possibility in the form of a characterological account that maintains a notion of responsibility despite a lack of traditional control over one’s actions. Frankfurt is instrumental in providing an example where this would be desired. Levy & Bayne summarize this contribution of Frankfurt by saying “rather than identify an agent’s character with the mechanisms that underlie the normal control of their actions….agents are fully responsible for their actions only if they are the product of desires that they endorse” (Levy and Bayne 467). On this account, the notion of will could simply correspond to an endorsement of actions. This would be similar to Ryan & Deci’s self-determination theory. Hereby we rescue retributivist justifications by appeal to character. This only leaves the problem of adjudicating between a lack of the capacities of self-control and the degree to which they have been exercised to determine whether an agent endorses an action (Levy and Bayne 468).

CONCLUSION

I thus conclude that elimination of will may not prevent a model of legal/moral responsibility, but doing so would change the current intuitions about moral responsibility quite extremely. The discoveries of neuroscience will not be sufficient to change our moral intuitions to such a degree, especially because we have other alternative ways of conceiving will that preserve the underlying libertarian intuitions. Even in the case where alien influences on our will challenge our libertarian intuitions, Frankfurt and Levy & Bayne offer responsibility grounded in character. Inclusion of will is a prima facie requirement for legal responsibility, but even if a libertarian will cannot be supported it is not necessary to adopt a consequentialist justification for punishment. Finally, if this strong conclusion is unconvincing I propose that the will is at minimum a critical notion that functions as a mental placeholder to make discussions of legal/moral responsibility intelligible, since moral responsibility conceptually requires an intentional agent. Thus, even in a consequentialist justification we would need to acknowledge moral agents if we want to have a conception of what is best for a society of intentional agents.

References

Feinberg, Joel. “Problematic Responsibility in Law and Morals.” The Philosophical Review July 1962: 340-351.

Frankfurt, Harry G. “Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.” The Journal of Philosophy (1969): 829-839.

Golding, Martin P. “Responsibility.” The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory. Ed. M. Golding and W. Edmunson. 2006. 236-247.

Greene, Joshua and Jonathan Cohen. “For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything.” The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (2004): 1775-1785.

Levy, Neil and Tim Bayne. “A will of one’s own: Consciousness, control, and character.” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry (2004): 459-470.

Morse, Stephen J. “Moral and legal responsibility and the new neuroscience.” Neuroethics. Defining the issues in theory, practice and policy. Oxford University Press, 2006. 33-49.

Roskies, Adina. “Neuroscientific Challenges to Free Will and Responsibility.” TRENDS in Cognitive Science 10.9 (2006): 419-423.

Ryan, Richard M. and Edward L. Deci. “Self-Regulation and the Problem of Human Autonomy: Does Psychology Need Choice, Self-Determination, and Will?” Journal of Personality (2006): 1557-1585.

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