Respect, Punishment and Mandatory Neurointerventions

Sebastian Jon Holmen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


The idea that acting morally is ultimately a question of treating others with respect has had a profound influence on moral and legal philosophy. Not surprisingly, then, some scholars forcefully argue that the modes of punishment that the states mete out to offenders should not be disrespectful, and, furthermore, it has been argued that obliging offenders to receive neurological treatment is incompatible with showing them their due respect. In this paper, I examine three contemporary accounts of what showing respect for offenders in our sentencing practices would amount to: that it involves not interfering with offenders’ capacities for rationality and autonomy, that it should not undermine offenders’ prospect of reform, and that it amounts to treating offenders as if opaque. I then critically discuss whether any of these accounts plausibly imply that mandating neurointerventions to some offenders is necessarily morally wrong. I argue that they do not.
Original languageEnglish
VolumeOnline first
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2020


  • Neurointerventions
  • Punishment
  • Respect
  • Opacity
  • Autonomy
  • Prospect of reform

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