HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Impact of Neuromorality on Punishment: Retribution or Rehabilitation?

Sandy Xie (Rutgers University), Colleen M. Berryessa (Rutgers Universtiy), Farah Focquaert (Ghent University), The Impact of Neuromorality on Punishment: Retribution or Rehabilitation? in The Palgrave Handbook on the Philosophy of Punishment (M. Altman, ed., Forthcoming):

This chapter examines neuromorality and its implications for criminal punishment. Increasing evidence suggests that morality is neurologically influenced, supporting the concept of neuromorality, according to which brain areas and neural networks underlie morality and moral decision-making. As evidence on neuromorality grows, findings may lead to questions about how immorality and related criminal behavior should be punished in the legal system. After reviewing existing neuroscientific evidence that suggests how distinctive neural deficits can negatively impact moral sense and decision-making, and can contribute to offending, we discuss how such evidence could affect perceptions of moral responsibility. We then explore practical and philosophical implications of neuromorality for determining retributive and utilitarian punishments in the legal system. Finally, we conclude by suggesting ways that neurological factors may be integrated into criminal sentencing.

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