Justice System In David Eagleman's The Brain On Trial

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In “The Brain on Trial”, David Eagleman claims that the justice system needs to change its sentencing policies due to the discoveries of neurobiological diseases that cause their sufferers to behave in socially unacceptable ways and/or commit crimes. Eagleman uses a variety of rhetorical strategies to present his viewpoint. The most important one is his appeal to logic. By using mostly examples, along with direct address to the readers, Eagleman is able to argue that the legal system has to modify its sentencing policies to take into account the advances made in neuroscience due to the increase in the amount of accused and/or convicted people who have been found to have harbored some kind of brain disease or damage. Eagleman…show more content…
He uses examples of cases in which people committed crimes involuntarily. Eagleman also cites examples of mental diseases in which the victims have no control over their impulses or actions. In other words, there are people who simply cannot stop themselves from making horrible or regrettable decisions. Therefore, this essay challenges the assumption that people have the power to choose how they live their lives and to make the right decisions at all times. Eagleman addresses the readers directly in order to be able to demonstrate that he understands that his readers will find his ideas radical. However, he is careful to state that he’s neither opposed to getting criminals off the street nor to incarceration. He just states that with all the advances made in neuroscience, it would be inappropriate for the legal system to treat everyone as if they have the power to make the right decisions in the first place. However, Eagleman also recognizes the legal implications of these advances as declaring people guilty or not guilty and determining appropriate legal punishments would become more complicated than before. At the end, he proposes ways in which neurobiological advances could be applied to help the mentally ill criminals to help them gain more self-control and more importantly, to keep them from going back to

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