Neuroethics Publications

The Ethics of Forensic Practice: Reclaiming the Wasteland

Stephen J. Morse, University of Pennsylvania

Document Type Journal Article

Suggested Citation:
Morse SJ: The ethics of forensic practice: reclaiming the wasteland. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 36:206–17, 2008


After beginning with a warm appreciation of Alan Stone's scholarship and character, this article argues that Stone's woeful characterization of forensic practice as a wasteland that has no genuine ethical guide to practice and little to contribute is vastly overstated. It claims that the basis for useful ethical practice is rooted in a proper understanding of the law's folk psychological model of behavior and criteria. Then it suggests the proper bounds of forensic practice, including an aspirational list of do's and don'ts. The view presented is deflationary and cautious compared to what the law permits and most practitioners do, but it still leaves forensic practitioners with a wide and important role in the legal system.


Date Posted: 02 July 2010