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Uehiro Seminar: Rescuing Responsibility from the Retributivists - Neuroscience, Free Will and Criminal Punishment

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Duration: 0:41:30 | Added: 02 May 2013
Legal punishment as the routine infliction of suffering poses a serious challenge of justification. The challenge becomes more urgent as a number of thinkers argue that the dominant, retributivist answer fails in the light of the findings of neuroscience.

In this talk I sketch a general account of retributivist justification of punishment and the basic neuroscientific argument against it. I then explore ways of challenging the argument by modifying the retributivist account of responsibility and desert. I analyze several variations and argue that none are plausible. I conclude by suggesting one way in which the notion of criminal responsibility can be rescued, but at the theoretical cost of changing the grounds of justification.

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