Acting on impulse: using the neuroscience of impulse control to improve the law

Roskams-Edris, Dylan (2016) Acting on impulse: using the neuroscience of impulse control to improve the law. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the potential legal utility of neurotechnologies which measure correlates of impulsive behaviors. Chapter 1 explains my philosophical position and how this position compares to others in the field. Chapter 2 explores some of the technical concepts which must be understood for the discussion of neurotechnologies and their applications to be fruitful. These chapters will be important for both explaining the capabilities of a neuroscientific approach to neural abnormalities as well as how they relate to the kind of regulation in which the law is engaged. The purpose of Chapter 3 will be a descriptive account of Canadian law where I will begin to explore how to apply ideas and experiments from neuroscience to specific areas of law. Chapter 3 will look at actual examples of Canadian criminal law and will span topics from the creation of law to the construction of appropriate sentences. Chapter 4 will debate if and how we should apply the neuroscientific perspective to the law given the ethical concerns surrounding the applications described in Chapter 3. The thrust of the chapter is that the development of the law does not occur in a vacuum and any alteration either to the laws themselves, how they are interpreted, or the technologies used to provide evidence, must have an ethical justification, that is, a way in which the proposed change will better meet the needs of society and the ethical objectives of the law. Sometimes these justifications can be drawn directly from constitutional documents, such as the Charter, or from the Criminal Code, while at other times these justifications depend upon arguments about furthering meaningful responsibility and therapeutic outcomes.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11892
Item ID: 11892
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-92).
Keywords: Ethics, Law, Neuroscience, Impulse Control, Neurolaw
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Community Health
Date: May 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Neurotechnology (Bioengineering); Impulse control disorders--Law and legislation; Medical ethics; Insanity defense
Medical Subject Heading: Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders; Ethics, Medical; Insanity Defense

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