Evil or Ill?: Justifying the Insanity Defence

Overview

Lawrie Reznek addresses these questions and more in his controversial investigation of the insanity defense in Evil or Ill? Drawing from countless intriguing case examples, he aims to understand the concept of an excuse, and explains why the law excuses certain actions and not others. In his easily accessible and elegant style, he explains that in law, there exists two excuses derived from Aristotle: the excuses of ignorance and compulsion. Reznek, however proposes a third excuse - the excuse of character change....

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Evil or Ill?: Justifying the Insanity Defence

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Overview

Lawrie Reznek addresses these questions and more in his controversial investigation of the insanity defense in Evil or Ill? Drawing from countless intriguing case examples, he aims to understand the concept of an excuse, and explains why the law excuses certain actions and not others. In his easily accessible and elegant style, he explains that in law, there exists two excuses derived from Aristotle: the excuses of ignorance and compulsion. Reznek, however proposes a third excuse - the excuse of character change. In introducing this third excuse, Reznek raises a controversial possibility - the abolition of the insanity defence.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Investigates the insanity defense through case examples and offers a fresh interpretation of our moral and legal systems. Explores the justification for the insanity defense and attempts to draw a distinction between those who are evil and deserve punishment and those who are mentally ill and deserve treatment, examining the tension between the medical view that evil behavior is caused by disease and the legal view that it is a product of our choices. For those interested in the legal system and the psychology of criminals. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415167000
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/6/1997
  • Series: Philosophical Issues in Science Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Diagnosis of Evil 1
1 A History of Criminal Responsibility 15
2 A Taxonomy of Defences 38
3 Ignorance as an Excuse 61
4 Compulsion as an Excuse 75
5 Automatism as an Excuse 93
6 The Justification of Excuses 115
7 Causality as an Excuse 135
8 The Reductionist Theory 152
9 Irrationality as an Excuse 173
10 The Concept of Disease 200
11 Character Change as an Excuse 223
12 The Clash of Paradigms 246
13 The Insanity Defence in Practice 266
Conclusion: Psychiatric Justice 295
Bibliography 311
Index 322
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