We gladly publish the explanatiry report of the magistral lecture given Prof. Piergiorgio Strata at the opening of the convention entitled “Diritto ed Etica“, held in Turin last October 1st, under the patronage – among others – of Consiglio dell’Ordine degli Avvocati di Torino.
Abstract. Recently the dialogue between the world of science and the world of law in the field of neurocriminology has intensified; a dialogue that has revealed the distrust that often exists in judging the presumed ability of the suspect to understand and want in order to assess his guilt. Many recent experiments have shown that, when we decide freely to perform an action, in the brain, both the electrical and metabolic activity rise long before the subject reveals to have made the decision to perform the movement. The first stage of the decision, therefore, belongs to an unconscious process and only then do we become aware of what the brain had decided to do. The model is that of the functioning of a complex system, in which the rules of determinism are valid in a probabilistic form guided by experience. This data allows us to lay the foundations for a new culture of punishment which should favour the concept of restorative justice over that of retributive justice.
SUMMARY: 1. Introduction. – 2. Courts and science. – 3. Free will. – 4. Dualism of substance and dualism of property. – 5. Determinism, probability and stochastic processes. – 6. The birth of neuroethics. – 7. Neuroscientific acquisitions and criminal law. – 8. Uncovering the cause.
To read the Reflection, click on “open file”.