By David Wasserman, Robert Wachbroit
This quantity brings jointly a gaggle of essays by way of best philosophers of technological know-how, ethicists, and criminal students, commissioned for an immense and debatable convention on genetics and crime. The essays handle easy conceptual, methodological, and moral matters raised via genetic study on felony habit yet mostly overlooked within the public debate. They discover the complexities in tracing any genetic impression on felony, violent, or delinquent habit, the kinds of interpretation to which proof of such impacts is topic, and the relevance of such impacts to the ethical and criminal appraisal of legal behavior. the amount offers a serious evaluation of the assumptions, tools, and findings of contemporary behavioral genetics.
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Additional resources for Genetics and Criminal Behavior
This suggestion is informed by research indicating that genetic variations associated with criminal behavior are more likely to affect the inhibitory than the excitory system. Greenspan compares "inherited impulsivity" with more familiar volitional and cognitive deficiencies and explores some of the interesting complexities in our reactive attitudes toward these deficiencies. One striking feature of genetic predisposition evidence is its moral ambiguity. It may make the agent appear more dangerous but less culpable, a persistent threat just because he is the victim of a chronic behavioral disorder.
Conversely, once we locate the study of violence in one of the particular sciences, certain questions will be the wrong questions to ask; they are not fruitful or do not lend themselves to a clear answer or may require special assumptions for their pursuit. For example, the question, Why are young men of one particular social class more likely to be violent than those of another? is not likely to be considered the right question to ask by a behavioral geneticist. The contrast class is not readily characterized in genetic terms, and the assumption that there is a clear genetic difference may be too difficult to maintain.
But if only some genes are held to be essential to a person's identity, there is no longer a rationale for equating a person's nature with her genome. Even if strict genetic essentialism is rejected, the related concern of genetic determinism is sometimes raised at this level of the controversy. We can understand this concern in two very different ways. On the one hand, we can understand the concern as a worry about genetic determinism - that is to say, a concern about the implications of a particular kind of determinism.