'My Brain Made Me Do It'--How Neuroscience May Change the Insanity Defence.
South African Journal of Psychiatry, 2009, March, 15, 1
South African Journal of Psychiatry
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According to Garland et al.: (1) 'If our brains are determined and if the brain is the necessary and sufficient organ that enables the mind, then we are left with the question: Are the thoughts that arise from our mind also determined? Is the free will we seem to experience just an illusion, and if the free will is an illusion, must we revise our concept of what it means to be personally responsible for our actions?' The law can only function predictably (and reasonably fairly) by conveniently assuming that all humans exercise free will to the extent that everyone can understand the law and control their own behaviour. But the law also provides for excuses that enable some wrongdoers to escape responsibility. The general rule in South African law, as provided in Section 78 of the Criminal Procedure Act, is that mental illness (or defect) may somehow interfere with an accused's ability to appreciate that his actions were wrong, or ability to control his behaviour (even if he knew it was wrong). This provision also now includes omissions, i.e. failure to act when he or she was obliged to.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Published: 01 March 2009
- Publisher: South African Medical Association
- Print Length: 9 Pages
- Language: English