Moral Responsibility and Tourette Syndrome
Author: Schroeder, Timothy
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 1 July 2005, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 106-123(18)
Abstract:Philosophers generally assume that individuals with Tourette syndrome are not responsible for their Tourettic tics, and so not blameworthy for any harm their tics might cause. Yet this assumption is based largely on ignorance of the lived experience of Tourette syndrome. Individuals with Tourette syndrome often experience their tics as freely chosen and reason-responsive. Yet it still seems wrong to treat a Tourettic individual?s tic as on a moral par with others? actions. In this paper, I examine the options and argue that, if this is correct, then a surprising consequence follows: the standard, motivation-based theory of desire must be false. I go on to argue that, given what is known about the neurological basis of Tourette syndrome, this is a reasonable conclusion to draw.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2005