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Responsibility and psychopathy 

Responsibility and psychopathy
Chapter:
Responsibility and psychopathy
Author(s):

John McMillan

and Luca Malatesti

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199551637.003.0010
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date: 27 January 2022

The previous chapters have described in some detail the cognitive, affective, and social deficits of those who score highly on Hare's psychopathy checklist. This section of the book considers what this implies about the moral responsibility of psychopaths. The chapters in this section discuss these issues from a variety of perspectives and while each chapter is self-contained, it is useful to sketch the general geography of the philosophical debate about psychopathy that is related to the ascription of moral responsibility.

We begin by saying why the moral responsibility of psychopaths is an important issue. Then, we consider the preconditions for moral responsibility. It will emerge that possessing moral understanding and being in control over one's actions are central preconditions that might be significant when considering the moral responsibility of psychopaths. Then, we discuss the points of convergence between the empirical work on psychopathy discussed in Section II of the book and these capacities.

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