Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Law and the Brain – Criminological, Philosophical and Psychoanalytic Findings on the Subject in the Era of Neuroscience

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.07.00  Social sciences  Criminology and social work   

Code Science Field
S160  Social sciences  Criminology 

Code Science Field
5.05  Social Sciences  Law 
law, criminology, brain, neuroscience, philosophy, psychoanalysis
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22662  PhD Matjaž Ambrož  Law  Researcher  2011 - 2014  664 
2.  22569  PhD Aleš Bunta  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  81 
3.  21337  PhD Sašo Dolenc  Philosophy  Researcher  2011 - 2014  862 
4.  13778  PhD Katja Filipčič  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2013 - 2014  612 
5.  25831  PhD Primož Gorkič  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2011 - 2012  334 
6.  06978  PhD Zoran Kanduč  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2011 - 2012  499 
7.  28385  PhD Saša Kmet  Criminology and social work  Junior researcher  2011  62 
8.  14089  PhD Damjan Korošec  Law  Researcher  2011 - 2014  616 
9.  18203  PhD Petra Malovrh  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2011 - 2014  43 
10.  20329  PhD Luka Omladič  Philosophy  Researcher  2011 - 2014  154 
11.  05380  PhD Zvezdan Pirtošek  Neurobiology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  745 
12.  06979  PhD Renata Salecl  Criminology and social work  Head  2011 - 2014  866 
13.  28593  PhD Sabina Zgaga  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2011 - 2014  392 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  77,465 
2.  0504  Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law  Ljubljana  5051525000  4,575 
3.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  97,976 
At the beginning of the 21st century we have witnessed the rapid development biological sciences including the areas dealing with the mechanisms of brain function. One of the basic presumptions of the modern interpretation of the society and of the state is the autonomous, free individual who carries complete responsibility for his actions. The domain of the autonomous decision-making subject as the central category of humanities can be reached through empirical research of the brain function. Our research is intended to show that the progress made in the field of brain research does not threaten this domain of freedom, otherwise of vital importance in understanding the society, morals, the law and political structures on which the modern state is based.  In the research we will also attempt to outline the normative ethical framework that should be respected when considering the application of such research, in order to maintain the highest standards of human rights and dignity.
Significance for science
Criminology faces serious questioning of who the subject of criminal activity is, what his responsibility is, what leads the individual to perform criminal acts and how criminal behaviour might be prevented. All these questions are addressed in a new way in today’s society. On the one hand, we have an increase of criminal behaviour, which is linked to centres of economic power, and which often is not regarded as criminal per se. On the other hand, we have an increase of the search for the potentially deviant people from the margins of society. These are people who are marked by poverty, insufficient education, dysfunctional family life and crumbling system of social network. If the first group of offenders – the protagonists who are part of the capital elite – perceived as less and less responsible and are thus also less controlled by the state and less haunted by the legal system, as well as less persecuted for their offence, is the other group of potential offenders (the poor) becoming the object of ever new legal and scientific approaches. Under the guise of searching for ways to prevent and deter crime as well as predict possible future criminal behaviour, science is now actually creating new forms of exclusions and criminalization’s. Our research project tackled these dilemmas so that it, on the one hand, theoretically looked at how criminal law and society at large perceive criminal subjectivity, how this definition changes through history and especially what kind of changes happened to this definition on societies which went through transition from socialism to capitalism. In this context special attention was given to the definitions of morality and ethics.The next important analysis concerned the influence of science in the criminal law and the penal system. Genetics and neuroscience are today taken as the two sciences which are opening new ways of predicting future criminal behaviour, while, at the same time, they offer new explanations in the judicial procedure. In the world, we were able to observe the first legal cases where punishment was lowered because of the presumed genetically predisposition of the criminal to commit criminal act. Brain scans are offered as more and more acceptable evidence in criminal law cases, as well in the civil law. For criminology, this introduction of neuroscience and genetics into legal proceedings presents a great challenge. While, at first, it looks that this will give an improvement to the legal procedure and offer ways to deter crime as well as present possibilities to find early interventions which would change potential criminal behaviour, in reality the research into criminal genetics leads to new forms of exclusion, especially on economic and racial ground.
Significance for the country
The project has important implications for the carrying out o the Constitutional proclamation that Slovenia is a social state and the state governed by law, for the prevention of violence (be it structural, institutional, group or individual violence) and other types of victimizations, for the reduction of unnecessary and/or unproductive repression, for the general and specific creation of crime policy (or crime policies) based on respect for human rights, social solidarity, tolerance, various forms of crime prevention and increase of objective and subjective security. The fact that Slovenia has relativly low crime rate in regard to other countries and that it has relatively well functioning judicial system is partialy related to the fact that Slovenia has a long history of excellent research in the domain of crime and criminal policy and that researchers in this field have always tried to present their work to policymakers and to the general public in such a way that it would improve the country's problems with crime and criminal policy.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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