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> The Yates case is interesting, though I doubt we'll ever know much about
> from it. The prosecution and defense essentially chose to portray her in
> ways that advanced their goals, and it is possible that the real Yates was
> lost in the shuffle:
> The prosecution portrays her as a cold-blooded killer who chooses
> beliefs to provide her cover, the defense as a mentally sick person who
> no choice.
> Perhaps there is a different Yates lurking in there, a person who was
> despondent about her marriage, overwhelmed by five kids, angry at her
> husband (who has embraced the defense's thesis) for his lack of support,
> overwhelmed by the cumulative stress gets rid of the kids, gets revenge of
> the husband, who loves the kids, and gets out of the marriage, one way or
> another. I don't think we'll ever know.
> The insanity defense has always intrigued me, as it seems to suggest that
> the greater and more bizarre the crime, the more credibility the claim of
> insanity would be. Might this not simply encourage petty criminals and
> killers to exaggerate the nature of their crimes so as to lay the
> for an insanity plea? It is no wonder that juries are skeptical, and, I
> think, properly so.
> The second aspect of the pleas that intrigues me is its legal relevance.
> legal system is, first and foremost, a process through which 'society'
> a judgement about the person's behaviour. It reflects our social values,
> does so in the form of a moral statement about the subject. It follows
> stated rules so as to give the process an appearance of objectivity, and
> states those rules before the event so as to bring to the process a sense
> justice. The insanity plea is important because of the rule that says a
> person, to be culpable, must be able to tell the difference between right
> and wrong. But, is it not possible for someone to be 'insane' -- in the
> sense of having no control over their actions -- and yet know that what
> are doing is 'wrong?'
Interesting point Lawrence.
Sometimes we are driven by instinctual inclinations which seem to be
in conflict with reason. That you still eat fattening things does not sound
even remotely insane to me. Our bodies, on the average, still crave for
high-caloric nutrients as our metabolisms are still adapted to scarcity
of food. It's hard to deny that instinctual desire, so no Lawrence you
seem to be perfectly sane to me ;-).
In fact, a couple of thousand years ago you may be regarded to be
insane for consciously ignoring all of those rich foods.
> I am trying to lose weight. Yet I eat fattening things, though knowing
> they are so. Am I insane? It would seem to me that knowing the difference
> between right and wrong and still doing the wrongful act is the better
> definition of insane...
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