Treatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice

ISBN : 9780198758617

David Birks; Thomas Douglas
368 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2018
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Preventing recidivism is one of the aims of criminal justice, yet existing means of pursuing this aim are often poorly effective, highly restrictive of basic freedoms, and significantly harmful. Incarceration, for example, tends to be disruptive of personal relationships and careers, detrimental to physical and mental health, restrictive of freedom of movement, and rarely more than modestly effective at preventing recidivism. Crime-preventing neurointerventions (CPNs) are increasingly being advocated, and there is a growing use of testosterone-lowering agents to prevent recidivism in sexual offenders, and strong political and scientific interest in developing pharmaceutical treatments for psychopathy and anti-social behaviour. Future neuroscientific advances could yield further CPNs; we could ultimately have at our disposal a range of drugs capable of suppressing violent aggression and it is not difficult to imagine possible applications of such drugs in crime prevention.

Neurointerventions hold out the promise of preventing recidivism in ways that are both more effective, and more humane. But should neurointerventions be used in crime prevention? And may the state ever permissibly impose CPNs as part of the criminal justice process, either unconditionally, or as a condition of parole or early release? The use of CPNs raises several ethical concerns, as they could be highly intrusive and may threaten fundamental human values, such as bodily integrity and freedom of thought. In the first book-length treatment of this topic, Treatment for Crime, brings together original contributions from internationally renowned moral and political philosophers to address these questions and consider the possible issues, recognizing how humanity has a track record of misguided, harmful and unwarrantedly coercive use of neurotechnological 'solutions' to criminality.

The Engaging Philosophy series is a new forum for collective philosophical engagement with controversial issues in contemporary society.


Part One: Setting the Scene
1 Christopher Chew, Thomas Douglas, and Nadira Faber: Biological Interventions for Crime Prevention
2 Lisa Forsberg: Crime-Preventing Neurointerventions and the Law: Learning from Anti-Libidinal Interventions
3 Matt Matravers: The Importance of Context in Thinking About Crime Preventing Neurointerventions
4 Jonathan Pugh: Coercion and the Neurocorrective Offer
Part Two: Defending CPNs and Diffusing Objections
5 Jeff McMahan: Moral Liability to Crime-Preventing Neurointervention
6 Peter Vallentyne: Neurointerventions, Self-Ownership, and Enforcement Rights
7 Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen: The Self-Ownership Trilemma, Extended Minds, and Neurointerventions
8 Emma Bullock: Moral Paternalism and Neurointerventions
9 Jesper Ryberg: Neuroscientific Treatment of Criminals and Penal Theory
10 Hallie Liberto: Chemical Castration and the Violation of Sexual Rights
11 Thomas Douglas: Neural and Environmental Modulation of Motivation: What's the Moral Difference?
12 John McMillan: Containing Violence and Controlling Desire
13 Mathew Clayton and Andres Moles: Neurointerventions, Morality and Children
Part Three: Against CPNs
14 Christopher Bennett: Intrusive Intervention and Opacity Respect
15 Emily McTernan: Those Who Forget the Past: An Ethical Challenge from the History of Treating Deviance
16 Jan Christoph Bublitz: 'The Soul Is the Prison of the Body': Mandatory Moral Enhancement, Punishment and Rights Against Neuro-Rehabilitation
17 Elizabeth Shaw: Against the Mandatory Use of Neurointerventions in Criminal Sentencing
18 Zofia Stemplowska: Should Coercive Neurointerventions Target the Victims of Wrongdoing?
19 David Birks: Can Neurointerventions Communicate Censure? (And so what if they can t?)

About the author: 

David Birks is a Departmental Lecturer in Political Theory at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, and an Early Career Research Fellow at the Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford. He was previously a Junior Research Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, University of Kiel. His research focuses on issues such as paternalism, perfectionism, punishment, and public reason.; Thomas Douglas is currently a Senior Research Fellow based in the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, and an Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics. His research lies in practical and normative ethics and currently focuses on the moral desirability of using medical interventions for non-medical purposes such as cognitive enhancement, behaviour modification, criminal rehabilitation, and moral improvement. He has also written on moral worth, compensatory justice, moral status, and reproductive ethics.

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