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Free Will and Law: Toward a Pragmatic Approach
Greg Simmons (author)
Published online: 08 February 2017. https://doi.org/10.1017/cjlj.2017.9
Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence
Despite its profound significance for notions of legal responsibility, the courts and legal system have tended to avoid direct engagement with the philosophical problem of free will. Focusing on mental illness and the criminal law, I advance here a naturalistic approach that builds on the work of P. F. Strawson, one I believe offers a pragmatic basis from which to address the contradictions and challenges present when folk wisdom, science, philosophy and the law intersect. In this way, I contend that moving dialectically between a reflexive engagement with extant practical attitudes to freedom and the empirical investigation of the participant/object divide affords the opportunity to develop more rational and humane legal and social responses to both the mentally disordered and broader population.
Cambridge University Press