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This project focuses on how the criminal law attempts to translate ideas from psychology into its own framework. Through analysis of Supreme Court opinions, the ambiguous concept of mens rea is called into question. A review of the history of insanity defenses in Britain and the United States reveals that the legal concept of insanity is unstable over time, defined inconsistently across states, and influenced by popular discourses. Philosophy and neuroscience work challenges the criminal law’s traditional presumption of free will, and debates over the implications of this doubt for the future of the criminal justice system are discussed. In summary, this project argues that current attempts to translate psychological concepts into criminal law, while made in good faith, have been unsuccessful.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Broughton, Eleanor Francesca, "Lost in Translation: The Conceptual-Empirical Language Barrier between Criminal Law and Psychology" (2018). Senior Projects Spring 2018. 92.
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