Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Many infamous cases create the impression that political assassins can get off just by pleading insanity. That impression, however, is inaccurate, because many insanity pleas are not successful. Still, successful insanity defenses are often controversial. On the one hand, when a defendant is known to have intentionally caused a death, it strikes many as unjust to find that person not guilty. On the other hand, it strikes many as unfair to find someone guilty of committing an offense for which he was not morally responsible. This chapter examines whether insanity is medical or legal; the M'Naghten Rule; irresistible impulse and loss of control; the model penal code; insanity as irrationality; and arguments for and against an insanity defense.

Keywords: mental institutions, insanity defense, political assassins, moral responsibility, M'Naghten Rule, irrationality

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.