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Project summary

The research project Responding to antisocial personalities in a democratic society (Croatian: Odgovori na antisocijalne osobnosti u demokratskom društvuinvestigates the ethical issues raised by translating scientific advances in the study of antisocial personalities to the social practices of a democratic society. The aim is to interface the most remarkable results of current science of antisocial behaviour with a normative framework that should underpin ethical recommendations on the treatment, intervention, enhancement and prevention that target offenders and other individuals with these disorders.

Two general and pressing theoretical challenges will be at the core of the proposed investigation. One is the problem of interfacing the normative notion of a person and her cognitive and decision-making faculties with scientific conceptions of those faculties. The normative notion of a person is spelled out in philosophical and legal accounts of criminal and moral responsibility that presuppose having capacities for rational decision-making and autonomy. The other is the problem of articulating a normative framework for applying to two interrelated normative tasks. First, this framework must inform the justification of a notion of the normative person that, being not hostage to metaphysically contestable views, is acceptable within a pluralistic democratic society. Second, it would guide our practical resolutions about how to respond to individuals with antisocial personalities that is viable in a pluralistic democratic society.

Addressing these theoretical challenges requires an interdisciplinary research team. The philosophers in the research team will draw upon the methods and results of empirically informed analytic philosophy of mind and of psychiatry, ethics and philosophy of politics. The expert of the neuropsychology of antisocial disorders in the research team will advise on the state of the art within his discipline and will enable the other members of the research team to use accurate interpretations of its more technical results.


The project is hosted by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Rijeka and funded by the Croatian Science Foundation (Grant: IP-2018-01-3518).

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