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Louisiana State University Law Center

Psychology

Criminal responsibility

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Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy Jan 2011

Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy

Journal Articles

How should we judge psychopaths, both morally and in the criminal justice system? This Article will argue that psychopaths are generally not morally responsible for their bad acts simply because they cannot understand, and therefore be guided by, moral reasons.

Scholars and lawyers who endorse the same conclusion automatically tend to infer from this premise that psychopaths should not be held criminally punishable for their criminal acts. These scholars and lawyers are making this assumption (that just criminal punishment requires moral responsibility) on the basis of one of two deeper assumptions: that either criminal punishment directly requires moral responsibility or …