Moral Responsibility and the Psychopath: The Value of Others

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Are psychopaths morally responsible? Should we argue with them? Remonstrate with them, blame them, sometimes even praise them? Is it worth trying to change them, or should we just try to prevent them from causing harm? In this book, Jim Baxter aims to find serious answers to these deep philosophical questions, drawing on contemporary insights from psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience and law. Moral Responsibility and the Psychopath is the first sustained, book-length philosophical work on this important and fascinating topic, and will be of deep interest and importance to researchers in these fields – not to mention anyone who has had to interact with a psychopath in their everyday life.

Author(s): Jim Baxter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2021

Language: English
City: Cambridge; New York

Copyright page
Summary of the Argument
Chapter 1 Moral Responsibility
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Senses of Responsibility
1.3 Moral Responsibility, Praiseworthiness and Blameworthiness
1.4 Moral Responsibility for Mental Phenomena
1.5 Relations between Senses of Responsibility
1.6 Theories of Moral Responsibility
1.7 The Reactive Attitudes
1.8 Responsiveness to Reasons
1.9 Conclusions
Chapter 2 Psychopathy
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Diagnosis
2.3 Emotional Deficiencies
2.4 A Distinct Condition?
2.5 ‘Successful’ and ‘Unsuccessful’ Psychopaths
2.6 Psychopathy and the Brain
2.7 Are Psychopaths Treatable?
2.8 Conclusions
Chapter 3 Psychopathy and Moral Responsibility
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Psychopathy and the Reactive Attitudes
3.3 Psychopaths and Reasons
3.4 The ‘Moral/Conventional Distinction’
3.5 Imperviousness to Reasons
3.6 The Role of Value
3.7 The Implications for Responsibility
3.8 Conclusions
Chapter 4 Emotions and Value
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Theories of the Emotions
4.3 Feeling Theories
4.4 Cognitive Theories
4.5 Perceptual Theories
4.6 Reconciling Theories of the Emotions
4.7 Psychopaths’ Emotions
4.8 Conclusions
Chapter 5 Empathy and Moral Development
5.1 Introduction
5.2 What Is Empathy?
5.3 Empathy and Moral Development
5.4 When Moral Development Fails
5.5 Other Disorders of Low Empathy
5.6 Conclusions
Chapter 6 Psychopathy in the Criminal Law
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Criminal Responsibility and Public Norms
6.3 Do Psychopaths Deserve Punishment?
6.4 Ignorance and Criminal Responsibility
6.5 Conclusions