Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Friday, January 16, 2015

My brain made me do it, but does that matter?

By Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
The Conversation
Originally published December 12, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

Despite some rhetoric, almost nobody really believes that the fact that your brain made you do it is by itself enough to excuse you from moral responsibility. On the other side, almost everybody agrees that some brain states, such as seizures, do remove moral responsibility. The real issues lie in the middle.

What about mental illnesses? Addictions? Compulsions? Brainwashing? Hypnosis? Tumors? Coercion? Alien hand syndrome? Multiple personality disorder? These cases are all tricky, so philosophers disagree about which people in these conditions are responsible — and why. Nonetheless, these difficult cases do not show that there is no difference between seizures and normal desires, just as twilight does not show that there is no difference between night and day. It is hard to draw a line, but that does not mean that there is no line.

The entire article is here.