Is It Wrong to Criminalize and Punish Psychopaths?


Increasing evidence from psychology and neuroscience suggests that emotion plays an important and sometimes critical role in moral judgment and moral behavior. At the same time, there is increasing psychological and neuroscientific evidence that brain regions critical in emotional and moral capacity are impaired in psychopaths. We ask how the criminal law should accommodate these two streams of research, in light of a new normative and legal account of the criminal responsibility of psychopaths.