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Original scientific paper
https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5

Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?

Anneli Jefferson   ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-1870-1361 ; University of Birmingham
Katrina Sifferd   ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0001-5594-6424 ; Elmhurst College

Fulltext: english, pdf (707 KB) pages 79-96 downloads: 363* cite
APA 6th Edition
Jefferson, A. & Sifferd, K. (2018). Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 14 (1), 79-96. https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5
MLA 8th Edition
Jefferson, Anneli and Katrina Sifferd. "Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?." European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, vol. 14, no. 1, 2018, pp. 79-96. https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Jefferson, Anneli and Katrina Sifferd. "Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?." European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14, no. 1 (2018): 79-96. https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5
Harvard
Jefferson, A., and Sifferd, K. (2018). 'Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?', European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 14(1), pp. 79-96. https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5
Vancouver
Jefferson A, Sifferd K. Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2020 July 10];14(1):79-96. https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5
IEEE
A. Jefferson and K. Sifferd, "Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?", European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, vol.14, no. 1, pp. 79-96, 2018. [Online]. https://doi.org/10.31820/ejap.14.1.5

Abstracts
The question of whether psychopaths are criminally and morally responsible has generated significant controversy in the literature. In this paper, we discuss what relevance a psychopathy diagnosis has for criminal responsibility. It has been argued that figuring out whether psychopathy is a mental illness is of fundamental importance, because it is a precondition for psychopaths’ eligibility to be excused via the legal insanity defense. But even if psychopathy counts as a mental illness, this alone is not sufficient to show the insanity defense is applicable; it must also be shown that, as a result of the illness, specific deficits in moral understanding or control are present. In this paper, we show that a diagnosis of psychopathy will generally not indicate that a defendant is eligible for an insanity defense. This is because the group of individuals subsumed under the diagnosis is so heterogeneous that while some psychopaths do show significant impairments in affect and control which may impact on their responsibility, many psychopaths are not incapacitated in a way relevant to responsibility.

Keywords
Psychopathy; mental disorder; dysfunction; criminal responsibility; insanity defense

Projects
Leverhulme Trust / Leverhulme Early Career Fellow / Leverhulme awards 2015 / MENBRES - Mental Disorders, Brain Disorders and Moral Responsibility

Hrčak ID: 207840

URI
https://hrcak.srce.hr/207840

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