Neuroscience and the Law: Brain, Mind, and the Scales of Justice: A Report on an Invitational Meeting Convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Dana Foundation

Neuroscience and the Law - Brent Garland Surprisingly, I walked away with very little from Neuroscience and the Law. The first section of the book talks about the need for there to be a self-evaluation as to how neuroscience will change legal procedures. The impact of science on law and our idea of human rights. The rest of the book is devoted to papers dealing with the current status of the science and its implications.

However, it’s presented in such a speculative manner that it doesn’t provide much bases to practically discuss such issues. Sure, if brain mapping eventually becomes such an advanced science that it can predict violent tendencies, it will have massive moral and legal implications. Likewise, if somehow we can make a breakthrough on how irrational and rational actions can be weighed, it will also have significant impact.

It is always helpful think about the moral and policy effect of science on our institutions beforehand, but in many ways it is merely an exercise. History has shown that science cannot be stopped. It can be slowed and temporarily ignored, but it cannot be harnessed by moral reservations. As the science develops, our legal process will adapt, albeit slowly, but they will adapt. The junk science and legitimate science will filter their way in and be used regardless.

Look at fingerprinting, DNA, ballistics or the scary, scary world of civil commitments.