Moral Responsibility, Psychiatric Disorders and Duress

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ABSTRACT  The paper is a discussion of moral responsibility and excuses in regard to psychiatric disorders involving abnormal desires (e.g. impulse control disorders such as kleptomania and pyromania, psychosexual disorders such as exhibitionism, obsessive‐compulsive disorder and others). It points out problems with previous approaches to the question of whether or not to excuse persons with these disorders, and offers a new approach based on the concept of duress. There is a discussion of duress in regard to non‐psychiatric cases based on the core notion of duress involving a choice between undesirables, and the paper concludes with an argument that moral blame for individuals with these sorts of disorders should often be lessened and in some cases removed entirely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes


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