Having taught digital logic and computer systems engineering in the mid-1990's at Swinburne University, in 1998 Dr Vincent obtained her BA (Hons) with majors in computer science and philosophy from La Trobe University. In 2006 she taught political philosophy, philosophy of law, and professional ethics at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and in 2007 she obtained her PhD from the University of Adelaide with a dissertation in philosophy of law entitled “Responsibility, Compensation and Accident Law Reform”. Between 2007 and 2016, while working at Technische Universiteit Delft in The Netherlands, she developed an enduring passion for the ethics of emerging technologies. While there, she was initially a postdoc on a neurolaw research project entitled “The Brain and The Law”. Subsequently, she was chief investigator on her project “Enhancing Responsibility: the effects of cognitive enhancement on moral and legal responsibility”, leading a group of postdocs investigating the effects of emerging cognitive enhancement technologies (including smart drugs) on legal and moral responsibility. Concurrently, between 2011 and 2013 she was also a research fellow at Macquarie University, developing her earlier work on responsibility and neuroscience in a project entitled “Reappraising the Capacitarian Foundation of Neurolaw”; and from 2013 until 2017 she was Associate Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Neuroscience at Georgia State University in the USA. In 2017 she returned to Australia and taught political philosophy and metaphysics at Macquarie University, as well as media at the University of New South Wales. In 2018 Dr Vincent joined the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) as Senior Lecturer where she teaches a range of subjects including 81539 Impossibilities to Possibilities.
Dr Vincent's research has been funded by more than $1 million external grants. She has published 40 peer reviewed articles, delivered 90 academic talks, and organised 19 conferences. She also talks regularly about her work on television and radio – as well as in a wide range of other public contexts – to ensure that her research is influenced by and useful to society. For example, in 2014 she delivered a TEDxSydney talk at the Sydney Opera House on the ethics of “smart drugs”, and participated in an Intelligence Squared debate at Angel Place arguing against the proposition that society would flourish under female rule.
The concept of responsibility occupies centre stage in Dr Vincent's scholarly pursuits, and socially responsible innovation and value-sensitive design are key features of her approach to a wide range of topics in a diverse range of fields including neuroethics, neurolaw, philosophy and ethics of emerging technologies, political philosophy, public policy, jurisprudence and philosophy of law, bioethics, media, feminism, gender, and happiness.
Her earlier work focused predominantly on the fields of neuroethics, neurolaw, ethics, philosophy of tort and criminal law, and political philosophy. For example, she wrote and delivered talks on such topics as the different meanings of the term “responsibility”, the compatibility of responsibility and determinism, medical interventions to make criminal offenders competent for execution, how neuroscience and behavioural genetics fit into criminal responsibility adjudication procedures, tort liability for failure to use cognitive enhancement medications, whether people who live unhealthy lifestyles should have de-prioritised access to public health care resources and to organ transplants, and whether neuroscience can help us lead happier lives.
Her more recent work addresses topics in the philosophy of technology, ethics of emerging technologies, feminism, gender studies, and bioethics. For example, she has written and delivered talks about conscientious objection, transgender-related public policy, depictions of transhumanism and posthumanism in film, gendered cyberhate and cybercrime, and design and regulation of emerging technologies — in particular, gene editing, blockchain, and autonomous vehicles.
© 2018 Centro Universitario de Brasilia. All rights reserved. Could neuroimaging evidence help us to assess the degree of a person's responsibility for a crime which we know that they committed? This essay defends an affirmative answer to this question. A range of standard objections to this high-tech approach to assessing people's responsibility is considered and then set aside, but I also bring to light and then reject a novel objection-an objection which is only encountered when functional (rather than structural) neuroimaging is used to assess people's responsibility.
© 2013, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Philosophical compatibilism reconciles moral responsibility with determinism, and some neurolaw scholars think that it can also reconcile legal views about responsibility with scientific findings about the neurophysiological basis of human action. Although I too am a compatibilist, this paper argues that philosophical compatibilism cannot be transplanted 'as-is' from philosophy into law. Rather, before compatibilism can be re-deployed, it must first be modified to take account of differences between legal and moral responsibility, and between a scientific and a deterministic world view, and to address a range of conceptual, normative, empirical and doctrinal problems that orbit its capacitarian core.
This theoretical paper draws the scientific community's attention to how pharmacological cognitive enhancement may impact on society and law. Namely, if safe, reliable, and effective techniques to enhance mental performance are eventually developed, then this may under some circumstances impose new duties onto people in high-responsibility professions-e.g., surgeons or pilots-to use such substances to minimize risks of adverse outcomes or to increase the likelihood of good outcomes. By discussing this topic, we also hope to encourage scientists to bring their expertise to bear on this current public debate. © 2014 Santoni de Sio, Faulmüller and Vincent.
This issue of Criminal Law and Philosophy contains three papers on a topic of increasing importance within the field of "neurolaw"-namely, the implications for criminal law of direct brain intervention based mind altering techniques (DBI's). To locate these papers' topic within a broader context, I begin with an overview of some prominent topics in the field of neurolaw, where possible providing some references to relevant literature. The specific questions asked by the three authors, as well as their answers and central claims, are then sketched out, and I end with a brief comment to explain why this particular topic can be expected to gain more prominence in coming years. © 2012 The Author(s).
Vincent, NA 2014, 'Restoring Responsibility: Promoting Justice, Therapy and Reform Through Direct Brain Interventions', Criminal Law and Philosophy, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 21-42.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Direct brain intervention based mental capacity restoration techniques-for instance, psycho-active drugs-are sometimes used in criminal cases to promote the aims of justice. For instance, they might be used to restore a person's competence to stand trial in order to assess the degree of their responsibility for what they did, or to restore their competence for punishment so that we can hold them responsible for it. Some also suggest that such interventions might be used for therapy or reform in criminal legal contexts-i.e. to make non-responsible and irresponsible people more responsible. However, I argue that such interventions may at least sometimes fail to promote these responsibility-related legal aims. This is because responsibility hinges on other factors than just what mental capacities a person has-in particular, it also hinges on such things as authenticity, personal identity, and mental capacity ownership-and some ways of restoring mental capacity may adversely affect these other factors. Put one way, my claim is that what might suffice for the restoration of competence need not necessarily suffice for the restoration of responsibility, or, put another way, that although responsibility indeed tracks mental capacity it may not always track restored mental capacities. © 2012 The Author(s).
Vincent, NA 2013, 'Blame, desert and compatibilist capacity: a diachronic account of moderateness in regards to reasons-responsiveness', PHILOSOPHICAL EXPLORATIONS, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 178-194.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label "neuroscience"; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks-at least one for each responsibility concept-and, I will suggest, a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question. © 2009 The Author(s).
Vincent, NA & Jane, EA 2017, 'Cognitive enhancement: A social experiment with technology' in New Perspectives on Technology in Society: Experimentation Beyond the Laboratory, pp. 125-148.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Vincent, NA 2015, 'Assessment and modification of free will via scientific techniques: Two challenges' in Free Will and the Brain: Neuroscientific, Philosophical, and Legal Perspectives, pp. 168-188.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© Cambridge University Press 2015. This chapter highlights two challenges for the broadly compatibilist idea that cognitive neuroscience and behavioural genetics might one day assist in the assessment, restoration and enhancement of free will by developing techniques to measure and modify people's mental capacities. First, I argue that it is still far from clear precisely how the notion of 'capacity' that lies at the core of the compatibilist approach should be understood in order to fulfil its normative function. Second, some mental incapacities can be equally re-described as character flaws, which makes it ambiguous whether particular neurological or genetic features should diminish guilt, mitigate, and perhaps even excuse, or condemn and aggravate, and whether it would be appropriate to offer, coerce or compel affected parties to undergo medical treatments. I highlight these challenges not to undermine compatibilism but to strengthen it by discussing its weaknesses, and I relate my discussion of these weaknesses to some of the claims made by other authors in this volume.
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015. Recent studies reveal some of the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in drug addiction. This prompts some theorists to claim that drug addiction diminishes responsibility. Stephen Morse however rejects this claim. Morse argues that these studies show that drug addiction involves neither compulsion, coercion, nor irrationality. He also adds that addicted people are responsible for becoming addicted and for failing to take measures to manage their addiction. After summarizing relevant neuroscience of addiction literature, this chapter engages critically with Morse to argue that a subgroup of addicted people does meet plausible criteria for compulsion, coercion, or irrationality; that few addicted people are fully responsible for becoming addicted; and that some addicted people can be at least partly excused for failing to manage their addiction. Pickard and Lacey's 'responsibility without blame' approach is also suggested as a fruitful basis for future work in this field.
© Oxford University Press, 2011. All rights reserved. This chapter poses the interesting question whether lacking the mental capacity for moral agency excuses or condemns further. Heidi Maibom, in a recent article, has argued for the latter, so that such evidence would enhance the prosecution's case. Marga Reimer, also in a recent article, claims that such evidence both increases and condemns. It is argued that once we distinguish condemnation of people 'for who they are' from 'what they do', and realize that each of these two types of condemnation plays a role at a different stage in a criminal trial, we will see that at the guilt determination stage such evidence clearly favours the defence. The claims of Maibom and Reimer are rejected.