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Balkan Journal of Philosophy

Its Current State and Perspectives for Future Development

Volume 10, Issue 1, 2018

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Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents

1. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Note from the Editorial Board
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2. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Valerie Gray Hardcastle Intellectual Disability, Brain Damage, and Group-to-Individual Inferences: How the U.S. Court System Uses Neuroscience Data
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In this essay, I home in on the difficulties with group-to-individual (G2i) inferences in neuroscience and how they impact the legal system. I briefly outline how cognitive shortcutting can distort legal decisions, and then turn my attention to G2i inferences, with a special focus on issues of intellectual disability and brain damage. I argue that judges and juries are not situated to appreciate the nuances in brain data and that they are required to make clinical decisions without clinical training. As a result, they effectively ignore those responsibilities and simply decide cases in virtue of what they already believe to be true. How judges actually make decisions in highstakes criminal cases is troubling, but they are also hamstrung in a variety of ways.
3. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Toma Strle, Olga Markič Looping effects of neurolaw, and the precarious marriage between neuroscience and the law
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In the following article we first present the growing trend of incorporating neuroscience into the law, and the growing acceptance of and trust in neuroscience’s mechanistic and reductionistic explanations of the human mind. We then present and discuss some studies that show how nudging peoples’ beliefs about matters related to human agency (such as free will, decision-making, or self-control) towards a more deterministic, mechanistic and/or reductionistic conception, exerts an influence on their very actions, mentality, and brain processes. We suggest that the neuroscientific view of the human mind exerts an influence on the very cognitive phenomena neuroscience falsely believes to be studying objectively. This holds especially when we consider the systematic integration of neuroscience into the public domain, such as the law. For, such an integration acts as a reinforcement of the public’s and legal decision-makers’ endorsement of and trust in neuroscience’s view of human nature that further changes how people think and act. Such looping effects of neurolaw are probably inevitable. Accordingly, we should be aware of the scope of neuroscientific explanations and be careful not to overstate neuroscientific evidence and findings in legal contexts.
4. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Drozdstoy St. Stoyanov Psychiatry and neurolaw: An Essay on the Mind-Brain Problem and Legal Proof
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The aim of this paper is to highlight the rationale behind the use of data from neuroscience, particularly neuroimaging, in psychiatric legal expert procedures and their interference with the mind-brain problem.The critical argument is that the employment of mental health evaluation of the defendants and/or witnesses as collected with clinical assessment methods in court proceedings should not be considered irrespective to the data from neuroscience. Essentially, neuroscience methods belong to the domain of nomothetic (natural explanatory) knowledge, whereas clinical evaluation methods in psychiatry belong to the domain of intra- and inter-subjective narratives. There exists an explanatory gap between those two groups of disciplines which concerns the ability to translate and integrate data across diverse methodological and terminological systems. Furthermore, it depends largely on the implicit positions in the mind-brain debate and the brain-to-behavior connections, which reflect on the professional and legal reasoning in terms of prioritizing certain solutions or approaches over another in the expert judgements. There are described those tacit positions adopted in the mind-brain debate by different traditions in psychiatry, with special emphasis on reductive and non-reductive forms of physicalism.In conclusion, a cognitive pluralist stance is adopted which sets priority for the supervenience theory of mind.
5. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Bartosz Janik, Maciej Próchnicki Naturalizing the subjective side of the crime: a few introductory remarks on the role of consciousness in criminal law based on American and Polish examples
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Advancements in neuroscience cast new light on the functioning of the human mind. This is especially important within the context of criminal law, wherein consciousness plays a crucial role in determining criminal responsibility. Yet, there are some caveats in the direct application of these new findings, most of which are related to the specific conceptual framework of law based upon commonsense knowledge and (sometimes) outdated psychology. This framework has also produced different doctrines of interpretation in the systems of common and civil law. Moreover, the goals of the law are to some extent different from scientific research on the brain. The aim of this study is to assess to what extent and under what interpretation scientific knowledge concerning consciousness might be useful for legal purposes, especially for the criminal law. Our assessment is that most of the current concepts of criminal law are directly related to outdated psychological and neuroscientific theories, and that the content of those concepts should be updated according to the newest scientific findings while remaining in accordance with the primary functions of criminal law.
6. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Anton Donchev Applying Confirmation Theory to the Case against Neurolaw
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Neurolaw is the emerging research field and practice of applying neuroscientific knowledge to legal standards and proceedings. This intersection of neuroscience and law has put up some serious claims, the most significant of which is the overall transformation of the legal system as we know it. The claim has met with strong opposition from scholars of law, such as Michael Pardo and Dennis Patterson (2011), who argue that neurolaw (and neuroscience more generally) is conceptually wrong and thus perceive most of it as “nonsense” (Patterson, 2003). I expose a flaw in Pardo and Patterson’s arguments by means of confirmation theory. My main point is that Pardo and Patterson use implicit hypothetico-deductivism in their attack on neurolaw, and that we have good reasons to doubt the employment of such a model, because it faces serious theoretical problems. I then demonstrate how the alleged problems associated with neurolaw disappear if we use a quantitative probabilistic account of confirmation. I also explain why it provides a better account for the way the legal system actually works.
7. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Hari Narayanan V Freedom, Responsibility and Jurisprudence
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This paper seeks to argue that advances in the study of freewill and responsibility are directly relevant to jurisprudence. Following Daniel Dennett attempts to discredit the existence of freewill with the help of experiments can be checked by arguing that freedom should be understood as something that has evolved over time rather than being a pre-existent feature of our species. The major function served by freedom is to ensure responsibility for actions. This understanding of freedom as something that evolved to enhance responsibility suggests that freedom can be developed further. This can be understood as enhancing the ability to follow social norms by overcoming factors that limit responsibility. Jurisprudence has to take into account the ability to follow norms as a variable, even within the category of adults, and treat violations accordingly. Further, efforts to enhance the capacity to be free from habitual reactions need to be made part of education, and the state has to focus on this aspect without which the task of ensuring adherence to law of citizens will remain incomplete.
8. Balkan Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Adebayo Aina Retributivist Theory of Punishment: Some Comments
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The Retributivist approach to punishment attempts to address the challenges posed by utilitarian conception that punitive actions should strictly be associated with a costeffective means to certain independently identifiable goods at the expense of justice. Justice proffers how the guilty deserve to be punished and no moral consideration relevant to punishment outweighs an offender’s criminal desert. However, this just desert provokes difficulty in discerning proportionality between the moral gravity of each offence and the specific penalties attached. This consequently degenerates to another form of ‘lex talionis’ (revenge) in punitive justice.