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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2003

Science and Technology Law

Fordham Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Mind To Blame: New Views On Involuntary Acts, Deborah W. Denno Jan 2003

A Mind To Blame: New Views On Involuntary Acts, Deborah W. Denno

Faculty Scholarship

This article examines the legal implications linked to recent scientific research on human consciousness. The article contends that groundbreaking revelations about consciousness expose the frailties of the criminal law's traditional dual dichotomies of conscious versus unconscious thought processes and voluntary versus involuntary acts. These binary doctrines have no valid scientific foundation and clash with other key criminal law defenses, primarily insanity. As a result, courts may adjudicate like individuals very differently based upon their (often unclear) understanding of these doctrines and the science that underlies them. This article proposes a compromise approach by recommending that the criminal law's ...