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2013 Archives

Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute presents:
Are psychopaths morally responsible for their actions?

February 5, 2013

Dr. Neil Levy, a recognized authority in neuroethics, will discuss whether psychopaths are morally responsible for their actions at SMU on Thursday, February 7, 2013.

Neil Levy lecture at SMUThe discussion, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Room 100 of Hyer Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m.

This lecture sketches a novel argument for a conclusion for which  Dr. Neil Levy has argued previously: that psychopaths are not fully morally responsible for their bad actions.

First he sketches his earlier argument for this conclusion, turning on psychopaths deficits on the moral/conventional task. He then offers a deflationary interpretation of this performance and argues that it entails that psychopaths' actions lack the kind of quality that would justify responding to them with reactive attitudes. Finally, Dr. Levy buttresses this argument by appeal to psychopaths' deficits with regard to mental time travel.

Organized by the “Thinking about Agency” Fellows Seminar, this lecture series will explore the nature of agency — the capacity, condition, or state of acting or exerting power- across a range of disciplines.

Levy is deputy director (Research) of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, and Head of Neuroethics at the Florey Neuroscience Institutes, University of Melbourne. He has a special interest in the science of moral decision-making and in topics in free will and moral responsibility. He is currently engaged in empirical research testing the claim that some ethical intuitions are the product of heuristics triggered by irrelevant factors. Levy also has a background in continental philosophy and conducts research on the phenomenology of consciousness.

For more information, visit www.smu.edu/Dedman/dcii