What does it mean to hold someone accountable for their behavior? In the past you commit a crime and are punished for doing so but with new technology the notion that blame, or that we are responsible for our actions, has been called into question. What if a brain lesion made you do it? What about past trauma or abuse? In this meetup we will discuss the notion of blame as it applies in the legal system and in our personal lives. We will review some information on legal defenses based on neuroscience and try to come to a resolution of how we should think about blame. To get you started on this topic there is a link below to a Radiolab podcast on the notion of blame. In this podcast two stories of blame and forgiveness are discussed. In addition a neuroscientists and other individuals discuss the role of blame in the legal system and suggest alternatives for how we try crimes.
I think this will be a very interesting topic as it raises some interesting questions about responsibility and how we hold individuals accountable for their actions. Should it matter that you had a brain tumor that caused you to kill your parents? Should it matter that you were abused severely as a child and that led to you attacking other members of your society? Should it matter that your family is starving and you stole food to survive? All these issues will be discussed. Please let me know other topics within this one that you would like to discuss as well.
Radiolab episode: http://www.radiolab.org/story/317421-blame/