This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions. It has been republished here under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Some people think that neuroscience will have a significant impact on the law. Some people are more sceptical. A recent book by Michael Pardo and Dennis Patterson — Minds, Brains and Law: The Conceptual Foundations of Law and Neuroscience — belongs to the sceptical camp. In the book, Pardo and Patterson make a passionate plea for conceptual clarity when it comes to the interpretation of neuroscientific evidence and its potential application in the law. They suggest that most neurolaw hype stems from conceptual confusion. They want to throw some philosophical cold water on the proponents of this hype.
In many ways, I am sympathetic to their aims. I too am keen to downplay the neurolaw hype. Once upon a time, I wrote a thesis about criminal responsibility and advances in neuroscience.… Read the rest