Originally published in 1985, this book provides a philosophical analysis of the concepts of madness and moral responsibility. It challenges the view that because they are victims of mental illness, the insane should not be blamed for actions resulting from their condition. The author urges a return to the neglected equation between madness and a want of reason, arguing that the impulse to excuse the criminally insane must be grounded in an appeal to their irrationality and unreasonableness. Through meticulous examination of the psychological states and behaviour patterns of major mental abnormalities, such as schizophrenia and depression, the author develops a notion of exculpating unreason. This is an interdisciplinary book which encompasses analytical philosophy, abnormal psychology and law.
Table of Contents
1. Madness and Moral Responsibility 2. A Disease Model of Madness 3. Diseases as Excuses for Wrongdoing 4. Madness as Unreason 5. Irrationality and Unreasonableness 6. Hallucination and Thought Disorder 7. Paranoid Delusion and Affective Disorder 8. Deviance and Defect 9. The Legal Tradition: Exculpating Ignorance and Compulsion 10. Exculpating Unreason in Children 11. The Insanity Plea
Jennifer Radden is Professor emerita of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.