This is the website of the research project Classification and explanations of antisocial personality disorder and moral and legal responsibility in the context of the Croatian mental health and care law (CEASCRO) that is financed by the Croatian Science Foundation.
This interdisciplinary project investigates the problem of the social response in Croatia to a class of offenders classified as having antisocial personality disorders and psychopathy. The core methodology consists in conducting philosophical investigations that are aimed at offering practical recommendations that are constrained by knowledge of the relevant practical setting of Croatian mental health law and care.
Two central and related philosophical issues appear to be relevant to the philosophical investigation and, thus, addressing them is the one of the principal aims of the project. First, a significant part of the contemporary debate on the social response to antisocial personality disorder centres on the nature and application of the notion of antisocial personality disorder. Some have argued that this notion involves normative preconceptions apt to serve public interests against the liberties of certain individuals. Others have questioned the accuracy and scientific robustness of the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorders and its precision of related risk predictions.
Second, the justification for choosing the appropriate treatment for people with antisocial personality disorder must also be a moral one. In particular, a relevant type of moral justification has to be grounded in principles that correlate psychological descriptions and explanations of a person’s behaviour with his or her degree of responsibility. In fact, conditions of responsibility underpin appropriate punishment as opposed to other forms of response and treatment. Similarly, arguably, compulsory treatment appears to be conditional upon a person’s diminished responsibility or capacity to act accordingly to a treatment decision, together with the existence of a risk to themselves or to others.
The philosophical investigation of the project will be integrated with the contribution of a leading forensic psychiatrist in Croatia, a sociological research based on qualitative analysis of the practices and challenges that are encountered by institutional representatives in the forensic department of the Rab psychiatric hospital and an historical investigation of the institutional response to antisocial personality disorder in the region in the period 1918-1980.