Credits to
Luciano Eusebi

Psychological complexity of human conduct and criminal sanctions system

Notes to D. Piva, Le componenti impulsive della condotta. Tra imputabilità, (pre)colpevolezza e pena, Jovene, Naples, 2020

Issue 9/2021

Report presented by the Author at the online Conference held on 5 May 2021, entitled “A proposito di… Le componenti impulsive della condotta”, dedicated to the homonymous book by Piva (to read the preface of the book, by Francesco Palazzo, click here).


Abstract. The paper highlights how the interest in a non-reductive approach to the psychological complexity of criminal conducts cannot be limited only to cases in which it makes possible to exclude the sanity or, however, the guilt of the offender. Even in ordinary cases in which this does not occur, therefore, the sanctioning modalities shall take into account this complexity, which can only take place in the context of responses to the crime no longer conceived in a retributive sense, but as a project: promoting, above all, sanctions with prescriptive nature.
It is also noted, in line with Daniele Piva’s elaboration, that the studies on the impulsive components of conduct and, in general, on the cerebral correlates of voluntary action are not at all able to solve the mystery of human freedom in a deterministic sense. Rather, the impossibility of weighing decision-making autonomy with respect to the factors affecting individual choices makes the theoretical assumptions of a retributive concept of justice unsustainable.

SUMMARY: 1. The need not to evade, in the name of general prevention, an honest approach to the psychological assumptions of criminal conducts. 2. The context of behavioral impulses remains relevant even in cases in which we do not refrain from punishing… – 3. (Continues) and orientates towards sanctioning modalities with planning nature. – 4. The mystery related to the theme of freedom is by no means dismissed.


To read the Reflection, click on “open file”.


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