ISBN: 9780262320382 | 344 pp. | September 2014

Being Amoral

Psychopathy and Moral Incapacity
Edited by Thomas Schramme

Psychopathy has been the subject of investigations in both philosophy and psychiatry and yet the conceptual issues remain largely unresolved. This volume approaches psychopathy by considering the question of what psychopaths lack. The contributors investigate specific moral dysfunctions or deficits, shedding light on the capacities people need to be moral by examining cases of real people who seem to lack those capacities.

The volume proceeds from the basic assumption that psychopathy is not characterized by a single deficit--for example, the lack of empathy, as some philosophers have proposed—but by a range of them. Thus contributors address specific deficits that include impairments in rationality,  language, fellow-feeling, volition, evaluation, and sympathy. They also consider such issues in moral psychology as moral motivation, moral emotions, and moral character; and they examine social aspects of psychopathic behavior, including ascriptions of moral responsibility, justification of moral blame, and social and legal responses to people perceived to be dangerous.

As this volume demonstrates, philosophers will be better equipped to determine what they mean by “the moral point of view” when they connect debates in moral philosophy to the psychiatric notion of psychopathy, which provides some guidance on what humans need in order be able to feel the normative pull of morality. And the empirical work done by psychiatrists and researchers in psychopathy can benefit from the conceptual clarifications offered by philosophy.

Gwen Adshead, Piers Benn, John Deigh, Alan Felthous, Kerrin Jacobs, Heidi Maibom, Eric Matthews, Henning Sass, Thomas Schramme, Susie Scott, David Shoemaker, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Matthew Talbert

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. 1. Introduction

    Thomas Schramme

  3. 2. The Heterogeneous Construct of Psychopathy

    Henning Sass and Alan R. Felthous

  4. I. Moral Capacities and Incapacities
  5. 3. Psychopathy and Moral Rationality

    Eric Matthews

  6. 4. Without Fellow Feeling

    Heidi L. Maibom

  7. 5. The Words but Not the Music: Empathy, Language Deficits, and Psychopathy

    Gwen Adshead

  8. 6. Psychopathic Comportment and Moral Incapacity

    Kerrin A. Jacobs

  9. 7. Not Caring: Sociopaths and the Suffering of Others

    Piers Benn

  10. II. Issues in Moral Psychology
  11. 8. Do Psychopaths Refute Internalism?

    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

  12. 9. Psychopathic Resentment

    John Deigh

  13. 10. Being a (A-)Moral Person and Caring about Morality

    Thomas Schramme

  14. III. Social Aspects: Blame, Transgression, and Dangerousness
  15. 11. Psychopathy, Responsibility, and the Moral/Conventional Distinction

    David W. Shoemaker

  16. 12. The Significance of Psychopathic Wrongdoing

    Matthew Talbert

  17. 13. Contesting Dangerousness, Risk, and Treatability: A Sociological View of Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD)

    Susie Scott

  18. 14. Conclusion: The Many Faces of Psychopathy

    Thomas Schramme

  19. Contributors
  20. Name Index
  21. Subject Index