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Neuroscience and the Law [Paperback]

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Item description for Neuroscience and the Law by Brent Garland, Mark S. Frankel, Peter Rushworth, Valerie Wood-Robinson, A Min Tjoa, Larry C. Spears & Ana Planella...

How can discoveries in neuroscience influence America's criminal justice system? Neuroscience and the Law examines the growing involvement of neuroscience in legal proceedings and considers how scientific advances challenge our existing concepts of justice. Based on an invitational meeting convened by the Dana Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the book opens with the deliberations of the twenty-six scientists and legal scholars who attended the conference and concludes with the commissioned papers of four distinguished scholars in law and brain research.

Michael S. Gazzaniga
Henry T. Greeley
Laurence Tancredi
Stephen Morse

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Item Specifications...

Pages   229
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 2004
Publisher   Dana Press
ISBN  1932594043  
ISBN13  9781932594041  

Availability  0 units.

More About Brent Garland, Mark S. Frankel, Peter Rushworth, Valerie Wood-Robinson, A Min Tjoa, Larry C. Spears & Ana Planella

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Law > Family & Health Law > Medical Law & Legislation
2Books > Subjects > Medicine > General
3Books > Subjects > Medicine > Internal Medicine > Neurology > Neuroscience
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Law > Family & Health Law > Medical Law & Legislation
5Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Medical > Medicine > Internal Medicine > Neurology > Neuroscience
6Books > Subjects > Science > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Neuroscience and the Law?

Refreshing  Feb 25, 2008
How will the latest advances in neuroscience change our concept of personhood? memory? truth? mental aptitude? How will we define what how much information an entity is permitted to know about another? At what point do we say a criminal is not responsible for a crime because of mental incapacity? All these questions and more you will find addressed here. But of course, don't expect to find the absolute answer so soon, there's much more to consider yet.

In this collaboration of essays, scholars, professors, and seasoned representatives represent the fields of international law, medical law, general legislation, neuroscience, neurology, psychology, philosophy, neuroethics, and pathology. Assembled at the National Conference of Layers and Scientists, this effort "focuses on emerging public policy issues at the nexus of science and law."

This is an emerging topic in this era, when brain sciences are showing much potential. I am convinced that anyone interested in where they are heading will enjoy this book
Fascinating discussions  Oct 30, 2004
The twenty-first century will see breathtaking advances in genetics, artificial intelligence, physics, mathematics, and neuroscience. In fact, there is not one field of science or technology that will not significant strides in this century, this being due not only to the increasing number of scientists but also to the amount of cross-fertilization between fields. Contemplating and witnessing these developments is exhilarating, and being alive in this century is every technophile's dream. All change however brings dangers as well as delights, and it always has legal and political ramifications.

Genetic engineering in particular has caused a lot of concern in the world citizenry, and has even become a major issue in the current presidential campaign. Many are terrified by the prospects of genetic engineering to be sure, but others believe that its dangers pale in comparison to those arising from current developments in neuroscience. A recent article in a major business journal spoke of neuroscience as being a field that will threaten privacy, end autonomy and the concept of human nature, and result in the homogenization of society. The article further asserts that neuroscientists will soon be able to screen an individual's brain in order to assess mental health, or be able to repair faulty personality traits using drugs or microchip implants.

If these developments reach fruition, the legal profession will find itself having to deal with them, like it has with genetics and other scientific developments in the last one hundred years. This book gives an excellent introduction to how the legal community is confronting them, and can be read by anyone curious about the issues at stake, as a background in neuroscience or law is not necessary for its perusal. The book is a collection of articles written by experts in law and neuroscience, but the authors of these articles keep the terminology and concepts at a reasonable level. In addition, philosophical speculation is kept at a manageable level.

In Part 1 of the book, Brent Garland gives a general overview of the main legal issues that have already arisen due to the advances in neuroscience. Garland's first goal is to answer to what extent neuroscience will actually impact the law. He expresses confidence that legal institutions will be able to handle any kind of scientific developments, without any major disruptions to its fundamental structure. In addition, he points to the need for a framework for addressing issues in neuroscience in relation to the law. He settles on one that separates the experimental techniques for monitoring and imaging the brain from its actual manipulations and the modalities for its enhancement. Many interesting issues are discussed by Garland, particularly on the concept of free will, which some believe will be obliterated by neuroscience. Garland however believes this will not be the case, and he offers reasons for holding to this opinion.

The issue of free will in twenty-first century neuroscience is brought up again in Part 2, which is a collection of commissioned articles for the book. The first article by Michael Gazzaniga and Megan Steven addresses briefly the philosophical arguments for free will and then moves on to the fascinating experiments of Benjamin Liber, which shed light on the extent to which brain activity precedes conscious experience. If these experiments indeed show that that brain is able to make decisions before we are aware of them, then this has ramifications to the culpability of criminals when carrying out heinous acts. Gazzaniga and Steven however present arguments that hold that this is not the case, that indeed it is possible to have free will in a deterministic system. Their arguments are more philosophical than scientific, and they conclude that neuroscience can say little about human responsibility. For them, the concept of responsibility is one that arises only as a rule in human society. It does not exist, they say, in the neuronal structure of the brain.

The article by Laurence Tancredi is more pro-scientific than the others in the book. He asserts, rightfully so, that imaging technologies such as PET, SPECT, and fMRI have laid to rest the mind-body problem that has occupied the time of many philosophers for centuries now. He is more pessimistic on the ability of the legal community to keep up with the advances in neuroscience however. He addresses four issues that he believes will challenge legal institutions in the upcoming years: brain death; cognition as it applies to competency in civil matters; cognitive enhancement, and neuroscientific measures for personal veracity. The advent of brain/machine interfaces and the possibility of downloading a person's thoughts into a machine will entail a new definition of brain death, he asserts. Although such a scenario seems implausible at present, so was the idea of brain/machine interfaces not too long ago. Tancredi's discussion of cognitive enhancement is fascinating since he addresses what is currently possible and what might soon be possible in this area (and many references are given).

Henry Greeley's article addresses the legal ramifications of advances in neuroscience in the areas of prediction, litigation, confidentiality and privacy, and patents. He is careful to point out that he believes that the technologies of neuroscience will have more benefit than harm, but that predicting their influence is done only with great difficulty. The author is very thorough in his discussion, and brings up many examples of compelling interest, such as statutory authorization of "mental searches", legalized or enforced "mental intrusions", and most interestingly, the possibility of owning a patent on thought patterns.

The article by Stephen Morse discusses the legal concepts that will need to be constructed due to the advances in neuroscience, which he believes has not been done yet. The discussion is therefore more philosophical in nature, and emphasizes the legal concept of personhood. The possibility of free will again takes center stage in this discussion, and Morse clearly believes that only future developments in neuroscience may offer a direct challenge to personhood and responsibility. No threat arises to our social and legal institutions at the present time.

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