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Changing Selves Workshop

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May 17, 2013 9:00am - 5:00pm

Room 172

Suppose we could make bad people good through medical treatments — for instance, to reform even the most hardened criminals by changing their brains through safe and reliable medical procedures, so that they would become good, law-abiding and wholesome citizens. Should we do so? Would it still make sense to punish them afterwards, or should we just treat them instead of punishing them?

This workshop will start by identifying what relevant direct brain intervention based techniques are currently available or on the horizon (i.e. what can be done). It will next describe the purposes for which they might be used or are already being used in medico-legal contexts (i.e. with what aims in mind), and then assess their moral and legal permissibility (i.e. what should be permitted). Our ultimate aim will be to develop either public policy recommendations on what principles should guide us in deciding what kinds of treatments for socially disfavoured behaviours should be permitted in these medico-legal contexts, or at least to recommend what sort of research needs to be conducted in order to generate such public policy recommendations.