This blog posting offers some more information about psychopaths. That article is followed by an outline of a modern liberal philosophy, naturalism, which declares that retribution (prison time and the death penalty) are unscientific and should be modified and reduced. A sort of scientific mercy is regarded as a superior alternative to the present system.
What Makes a Psychopath? Answers Remain Elusive
Special to LiveScience – Mon Aug 31, 2009
- Lack of empathy, guilt, conscience or remorse
- Shallow experiences of feelings or emotions
- Impulsivity and a weak ability to defer gratification and control behavior
- Superficial charm and glibness
- Irresponsibility and a failure to accept responsibility for their actions
- A grandiose sense of their own worth
= = = = = = = = =
According to this approach, free will is a myth because we do not yet have scientific justification or support for it (we can't find it on brain scans or mimic it). This is to say that all of Shakespeare's soliloquies about the pangs of conscience lack any objective correlative or analogy to our lives. That, although Greek mythology is the basis for two modern sciences (both psychiatry and psychology), that some of the goddesses (Nemesis, the Fates, and Destiny, as examples) can be ignored. The Muses shouldn't be allowed to withdraw their gifts, because people “are fully caused in their character and behavior.”
And what about reducing prison time or avoiding the death penalty for a psychopath (a tiny element in the population at large but a significant part of prison populations)? These are humans for whom morality is merely a game, though they are firmly rooted in reality and think rationally. It is unknown whether they are fully responsible for their behavior (partly because they have been studied so sparingly, and partly because they lie while being studied in hope of favors or release). As for civility and safety in society, can we indeed “maintain our standards perfectly well” without retribution regarding psychopaths? This seems a dangerous and arrogant set of philosophical assumptions.