When Should Neuroimaging be Applied in the Criminal Court? On Ideal Comparison and the Shortcomings of Retributivism

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When does neuroimaging constitute a sufficiently developed technology to be put into use in the work of determining whether or not a defendant is guilty of crime? This question constitutes the starting point of the present paper. First, it is suggested that an overall answer is provided by what is referred to as the “ideal comparative view.” Secondly, it is—on the ground of this view—argued that the answer as to whether neuroimaging technology should be applied presupposes penal theoretical considerations. Thirdly, it is argued that the retributivist theory of punishment is not well-suited for delivering the sort of theoretical guidance that is required for assessing the desirability of using neuroimaging in the work of the criminal court.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)81-99
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Criminal court
  • Ideal comparison
  • Neuroimaging
  • Penal theory
  • Retributivism

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