© 2016

Legal Insanity: Explorations in Psychiatry, Law, and Ethics


Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 71)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Gerben Meynen
    Pages 1-10
  3. Gerben Meynen
    Pages 63-85
  4. Gerben Meynen
    Pages 87-114
  5. Gerben Meynen
    Pages 115-143
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 177-196

About this book


This book examines core issues related to legal insanity, integrating perspectives from psychiatry, law, and ethics. Various criteria for insanity are analyzed and recommendations for forensic psychiatric and legal practice are offered. Many legal systems have an insanity defense, in one form or another. Still, it remains unclear exactly when and why mental disorders affect a person’s moral or criminal responsibility. Questions addressed in this book include: Why should insanity be a component of our legal system? What should be the criteria for an insanity defense? What would be the reasons for abolishing it? Who should bear the burden of proof? Furthermore, the book discusses the impact neurosciences may have on psychiatric and psychological evaluations of defendants as well as on legal decisions about insanity.  


criminial responsibility diminished guilt due to mental disorder forensic psychiatry insanity insanity defense legal insanity

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Tilburg Law SchoolTilburgThe Netherlands

About the authors

Gerben Meynen received a Ph.D. in Philosophy and in Medicine. He is an endowed professor of Forensic Psychiatry (Tilburg University) and an endowed professor of Ethics and Psychiatry (VU University Amsterdam). Since 2006, he has been a psychiatrist at GGZ inGeest, Amsterdam.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Legal Insanity: Explorations in Psychiatry, Law, and Ethics
  • Authors Gerben Meynen
  • Series Title International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine
  • Series Abbreviated Title Int. Library Ethics, Law
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-44719-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-83119-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-44721-6
  • Series ISSN 1567-8008
  • Series E-ISSN 2351-955X
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 196
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Ethics
    Forensic Medicine
    Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


“The curious reader is showered with a detailed and engaging narrative of the concept of legal insanity … . content is so informative and engaging that it can be beneficial to instruction in undergraduate and graduate classes encompassing a variety of subjects … . It can also be the ideal read for legal scholars, philosophers of ethics, and scientists who are interested in the conundrums posed by the criteria that determine legal insanity in diverse legal systems.” (Maura Pilotti, metapsychology online reviews,, Vol. 21 (27), July, 2017)

“This book attempts to confront insanity cases from a multidisciplinary perspective by using the three pillars of its foundation: psychiatry, ethics, and the law. … Although likely interesting for those involved in the legal system, philosophy, ethics, or the mental health system, this book also may prove to be a valuable resource for students interested in these fields or for anyone wishing to know more about the origins, current practice, and potential future direction of the insanity defense.” (Steven T. Herron, Doody's Book Reviews, March, 2016)