Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Raging hormones and excuses : female-specific syndromes and criminal (non-) responsibility
Author: Gore, Sally Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This thesis focuses on two parallel debates. The first concerns the fact that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be recognised by the criminal law and used as the basis of an excuse or in mitigation. The second takes as its starting point the existing academic criticism of the infanticide offence/defence, which in turn gives rise to the question of whether postnatal illnesses should be able to give rise to a criminal defence or be employed as a factor that goes to mitigation of sentence. In order to move both debates further, I draw on theories from medicine, philosophy and law and I consider the following issues and their impact on the specific questions in this thesis: 1) When are particular symptoms or experiences classified as disease or illness and what is the significance of these labels? 2) What is the theoretical basis for holding an individual criminally responsible and when should people suffering from mental disorder be wholly or partially excused or be able to raise a condition in mitigation? 3) To what extent does the existing criminal law meet these requirements and/or how should it be reformed in order to do so? I begin by looking at the current legal position and at the way in which the legal debate in this area has been conducted so far. I identify a number of questions that have characterised the so-called ‘feminist debate’ which centres around authors who object to the formal recognition of female-specific medical problems for gender-political reasons. An examination of the principal medical literature on both conditions demonstrates that although the symptoms and aetiologies of the two conditions are not settled, their existence is not doubted by medical science. Furthermore, both can be regarded as subcategories of the generic group of mental disorders categorised as depression. I answer the question of when something is considered a disease by demonstrating the philosophical underpinnings of the concept. The disease and illness labels are used to signify that an individual is not regarded as responsible for their symptoms and thus is excused by society from partaking in their normal social role when ill.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available