Pupin Hall, Room 222, Columbia University, New York
Speaker: Federica Coppola, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University
This lecture explores how the neuroscientific teachings about the role of emotions in moral decision-making and antisocial behavior might lead to a rethinking of our orthodox understanding of criminal culpability, as well as of current criminal justice policies and practices. The lecture begins with a general overview of the doctrine of culpability with special focus on the cognitive core of its legal-psychological substance. It then contrasts said doctrine with neuroscientific insights into moral decision-making and antisocial behavior. In view of this contrast, the lecture moves to consider the extent to which these insights may cause us to re-evaluate the mental foundations of culpability, and the general meaning of culpability as a consequence. It then canvasses possible implications that the inclusion of emotions in the doctrine of culpability might have for criminal justice, with special focus on the possibility of shifting the paradigm of punishment from retribution and incarceration to emotional and social rehabilitation.