[ExI] insanity plea

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Tue Feb 26 16:39:16 UTC 2013

On Mon, Feb 25, 2013  Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> There is no point in punishment if perpetrators and potential
> perpetrators aren't going to change their behaviour.

But no matter how crazy somebody is you can ALWAYS change their behavior.
Imprisoning them will change their behavior, at the very least their prey
population will become quite different. And if a bullet is placed in their
brain their behavior will change even more.

> If you're thinking of murdering someone to take their money the thought
> of being punished may deter you,

Yes, and that is because few crazy people are infinitely crazy, although I
admit that some are.

> and even if it doesn't, your punishment after the fact may deter other
> murderers

Also true, and if the person being punished is crazy it will in no way
limit the deterrent effect that punishment has on others.

> > if you have no control over what you do, because [...]

If you have no control over what you do (and I'm not entirely sure what if
anything that means) then there are only 2 possibilities:

1) You did it because you had bad genes or had a bad environment or had

2) There might not be a "because" involved at all. It might be that no
reason caused you to do it but you did it nevertheless, in other words it
was random. In physics things like that are called random quantum
fluctuations and have been detected in the lab. It is not known if such
small random changes in the brain can lead to macroscopic changes in
behavior, but it is conceivable that they can. Nor is it known if some
brains are more susceptible to such quantum fluctuations than others, but
again it is conceivable that some are.

As far as the law is concerned I don't see how it matters in the slightest
which of those 2 possibilities is true.

> for example you are driven by command auditory hallucinations, then fear
> of the consequences won't stop you acting,

It might stop some loonies because most crazy people, even most very crazy
people, are only finitely crazy.

> nor will it stop anyone else acting who gets the same illness as you do.

But it will deter those who don't have that illness.

 John K Clark
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