Thursday, August 19, 2004

Article on Free-will / Reponsibility

The Guardian reports:

A leading neuroscientist caused a sensation by claiming crimes are the result of brain abnormalities.

The idea that someone should not be punished if their abnormal neural make-up leaves them no choice but to break the law is contentious but not new. However, one prominent neuroscientist has sparked a storm by picking it up and turning it round. Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's leading newspapers, Wolf Singer argued that crime itself should be taken as evidence of brain abnormality, even if no abnormality can be found, and criminals treated as incapable of having acted otherwise.

His claims have brought howls of outrage from academics across the sciences and humanities. But Singer counters that the idea is nothing but a natural extension of the thesis that free will is an illusion - a theory that he feels is supported by decades of work in neuroscience.


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