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Katrina L. Sifferd
Elmhurst College
  1. Responsible Brains: Neuroscience, Law, and Human Culpability.William Hirstein, Katrina L. Sifferd & Tyler K. Fagan - 2018 - New York, NY, USA: MIT Press.
    [This download includes the table of contents and chapter 1.] -/- When we praise, blame, punish, or reward people for their actions, we are holding them responsible for what they have done. Common sense tells us that what makes human beings responsible has to do with their minds and, in particular, the relationship between their minds and their actions. Yet the empirical connection is not necessarily obvious. The “guilty mind” is a core concept of criminal law, but if a defendant (...)
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  2. On the Criminal Culpability of Successful and Unsucessful Psychopaths.Katrina L. Sifferd & William Hirstein - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (1):129-140.
    The psychological literature now differentiates between two types of psychopath:successful (with little or no criminal record) and unsuccessful (with a criminal record). Recent research indicates that earlier findings of reduced autonomic activity, reduced prefrontal grey matter, and compromised executive activity may only be true of unsuccessful psychopaths. In contrast, successful psychopaths actually show autonomic and executive function that exceeds that of normals, while having no difference in prefrontal volume from normals. We argue that many successful psychopaths are legally responsible for (...)
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  3. Non-Eliminative Reductionism: Not the Theory of Mind Some Responsibility Theorists Want, but the One They Need.Katrina L. Sifferd - 2018 - In Bebhinn Donnelly Lazarov (ed.), Neurolaw and Responsibility for Action: Concepts, Crimes, and Courts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 71-103.
    This chapter will argue that the criminal law is most compatible with a specific theory regarding the mind/body relationship: non-eliminative reductionism. Criminal responsibility rests upon mental causation: a defendant is found criminally responsible for an act where she possesses certain culpable mental states (mens rea under the law) that are causally related to criminal harm. If we assume the widely accepted position of ontological physicalism, which holds that only one sort of thing exists in the world – physical stuff – (...)
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  4.  36
    Author’s Reply: Negligence and Normative Import.Katrina L. Sifferd & Tyler K. Fagan - 2022 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 22 (August):1-19.
    In this paper we attempt to reply to the thoughtful comments made on our book, Responsible Brains, by a stellar group of scholars. Our reply focuses on two topics discussed in the commenting papers: frst, the issue of responsibility for negligent behavior; and second, the broad claim that facts about brain function are normatively inert. In response to worries that our theory lacks normative implications, we will concentrate on an area where our theory has clear relevance to law and legal (...)
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  5. Chemical Castration as Punishment.Katrina L. Sifferd - 2020 - In Thomas Nadelhoffer & Nicole A. Vincent (eds.), Neuro-Interventions and the Law.
    This chapter explores whether chemical castration can be justified as a form of criminal punishment. The author argues that castration via the drug medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), or some similar drug, does not achieve the punishment aims of retribution, deterrence, or incapacitation, but might serve as punishment in the form of rehabilitative treatment. However, current U.S. chemical castration statutes are too broad to be justified as rehabilitative. The state is warranted in targeting psychological states in criminal defendants for rehabilitative treatment where (...)
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  6.  17
    Do Rape Cases Sit in a Moral Blindspot?Katrina L. Sifferd - forthcoming - In Samuel Murray & Paul Henne (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Action. London, UK:
    Empirical research has distinguished moral judgments that focus on an act and the actor’s intention or mental states, and those that focus on results of an action and then seek a causal actor. Studies indicate these two types of judgments may result from a “dual-process system” of moral judgment (Cushman 2008, Kneer and Machery 2019). Results-oriented judgements may be subject to the problem of resultant moral luck because different results can arise from the same action and intention. While some argue (...)
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  7.  84
    Juvenile Self-Control and Legal Responsibility: Building a Scalar Standard.Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler Fagan & William Hirstein - 2020 - In Alfred Mele (ed.), Surrounding Self-Control.
    US criminal courts have recently moved toward seeing juveniles as inherently less culpable than their adult counterparts, influenced by a growing mass of neuroscientific and psychological evidence. In support of this trend, this chapter argues that the criminal law’s notion of responsible agency requires both the cognitive capacity to understand one’s actions and the volitional control to conform one’s actions to legal standards. These capacities require, among other things, a minimal working set of executive functions—a suite of mental processes, mainly (...)
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