[ExI] insanity plea

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 11:20:12 UTC 2013

On Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 5:17 AM, John Clark
<johnkclark at gmail.com<javascript:;>>
> On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 7:12 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se<javascript:;>>
>> > If I was chasing after you because you owed me money, then it is a
>> > matter for the justice system: I had a reason
> Yes.
>> > If I was chasing after you because I believed that you were a
>> > who stole my name, then that is evidence that my reality checking is
>> > and it is a matter for the hospital.
> In both cases it was not random and there was a reason you were chasing me
> with a bloody ax, but in this case your reality checking system is so
> broken that you are far more dangerous and more likely to kill again then
> you just did it because I owed you money, and so in a rational world the
> leprechaun believing guy would be punished more severely not less as it is
> today.

Detaining someone is not the same as punishing them. A dangerous psychotic
person can reasonably be detained at least until he is no longer dangerous,
but punishing him may be useless as well as unfair. This is not to say that
psychotic people should never bear any responsibility for their actions. If
I am hearing voices and hit you because I think you are calling me names I
should be punished, since I would be punished even if you really were
calling me names. But at the other end of the spectrum, I could experience
passivity phenomena that cause me to hit you, and in that case I have no
more control over it that if I tripped and fell on top of you.

>> > Nobody says that delusional people have a real choice
> Talk to me about people who do have "a real choice", explain to me how
> minds work; did something cause that choice, was their a reason for it or
> was it random? I think there are few words that contain more useless
> metaphysical gunk than the word "choice".
>> > they do not update their beliefs when given clear evidence against them
> People who "update their beliefs when given clear evidence against them"
> the way they are for a reason or they are the way they are for no reason.
> And People who do NOT "update their beliefs when given clear evidence
> against them" are the way they are for a reason or they are the way they
> for no reason. So why is one person responsible for their actions and the
> other not?

Maybe you haven't had much contact with the mentally ill. Consider this
case. You start hearing the voice of God telling you that you must kill
your neighbour in order to prevent the Earth being hit by an asteroid. You
kill the neighbour, and the police arrest you. They ask you why you did it
and you tell them. They arrange a medical assessment and the doctor notices
that you have tachycardia, tremor, exophthalmos, weight loss and complain
of feeling hot even though it's cold. He orders thyroid function tests and
finds that you have Grave's Disease. You are admitted to hospital and are
treated with anti-thyroid medication, and later a rhyroidectomy, with
resolution of the symptoms, including the psychosis. Now well, you are
aghast at what you've done. At your trial, you point out that not only have
you never hurt another human being in your entire life, you are also an
atheist, as evidenced by your posts from this very list. Moreover, the
cause of your psychotic state, hyperthyroidism, has now been cured
surgically, and you pose no further risk to society.

None of the facts of the case are disputed by the prosecution. Should you
still get the same punishment as any other murderer?

Stathis Papaioannou

Stathis Papaioannou
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