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Sociopathy should be legally considered a disability.

If you explain to a blind man that apples are red, he still won't know what apples look like, because he doesn't know what red looks like. Being a sociopath is just like being blind, except to morals instead of to things. You can tell a sociopath not to kill people, but you'll have to explain it in depth. Eventually the argument is going to boil down to "because [blah blah blah] is WRONG," which is just like telling a blind man, "because apples are RED," and is equivalent in sociopath language to "because I said so." Rather than letting these people run free with no moral compass and expecting them to somehow make the right decisions anyway, it would be healthier, for them and for us, to have them put under the care, watchful eye, and jurisdiction of the people who love them, and compensate those people financially for the burden.

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Interesting idea and I like the analogy.
I need to contemplate this more.
I am philosophically opposed to incarceration yet I see your point regarding the potential mechanical defect that can make some people seem incapable of making moral decisions.

I am not convinced that:

1) we are capable of conclusively determining who is a sociopath. Therefore the "law" could be used against anyone whose morals we disagree with (example we might pass a law saying all homosexuals are sociopaths), and

2) that logic and decision analysis is inadequate for the purpose of societal integration of the "sociopath (ie., someone of normal intelligence can be taught to follow laws even if they don't "feel" it, just like someone can be taught to play a piano mechanically even if they don't "feel" the passion of the music), following rules and "getting" the rules are two very different things, or

3) that sociopathy is even "real".

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree 0Reply
@VicZinc Interesting idea and I like the analogy. I need to contemplate this more. I am philosophically opposed to...

1) That's true. I believe there are studies into the brain structure of a sociopath that indicate a correlation between sociopathy and failure, either developmental or postnatal, of the orbital cortex, but the correlation certainly isn't absolute. There is an even stronger correlation between sociopathy and the combination of orbital cortex failure and childhood victimization, but that also is not absolute; while there have been only affirmative findings, there haven't been enough of them to be sure, and any experimentation on the matter would be unethical because it would involve either causing children brain damage, traumatizing them, or both.

2) It's true that sociopaths can be taught to follow moral rules even if they don't feel them. But even that doesn't mean they should be expected to. Should it be considered reasonable to reprimand a child raised Christian for not following Christian teachings if in fact he doesn't feel they're right? I feel it shouldn't. Ethics are no different; they are merely a religion, albeit a very big one which encompasses most of the human race, whose membership is based on brain structure, and which is widely regarded as not only correct, but the very definition thereof.

3) That's an interesting question. On one hand, I would be inclined to believe it's real, because some animals are sociopaths. For example, I'm fairly sure that fish don't concern themselves with ethics. Since humans arose from earlier forms of life, and earlier forms of life were without ethics, it would make sense that ethics were something that developed over time, and that that development might be left out of some people by mutation.

On the other hand, I also have to question what extent of mutation would allow such a thing. That depends on just how many genes are responsible for the capacity for a conscience, which, in turn, depends on just how ancient that capacity is. What is the first animal which ever had a conscience? The closer it is to man, the more likely that sociopathy could exist.

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