The non-problem of free will in forensic psychiatry and psychology

Behav Sci Law. 2007;25(2):203-20. doi: 10.1002/bsl.744.


This article demonstrates that there is no free will problem in forensic psychiatry by showing that free will or its lack is not a criterion for any legal doctrine and it is not an underlying general foundation for legal responsibility doctrines and practices. There is a genuine metaphysical free will problem, but the article explains why it is not relevant to forensic practice. Forensic practitioners are urged to avoid all usage of free will in their forensic thinking and work product because it is irrelevant and spawns confusion.

Publication types

  • Legal Case

MeSH terms

  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Criminology / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Forensic Psychiatry* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Psychology* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States