Quine's "Quiddities" and the Insanity Defence
Sometimes one finds rare confirmation in unexpected places. W. V. Quine, in "Quiddities: An Intermittently Philosophical Dictionary" (1987), writes (under the entry on "Free Will"):
"The rightly but insufficiently maligned insanity plea, as a defense in criminal courts, is predicated on ill health of the offender's decison-making faculties. The theory would seem to be that healthy faculties make decisions spontaneously and hence with full responsibility, while diseased ones are the pawns of outside forces. It is a hard line to draw, and the more so when one appreciates that all our actions subtend causal chains from far away and long ago. The plea has no evident place in the rationale of punishment as we have been picturing it, and a persuasive justification of it is not easy to conceive."