Punishment, freedom, and the culture of control: the case of brain imaging and the law.
The question, then, is whether the new technologies — particularly those emanating from brain biology and cognitive neuroscience — further relegate the individual to the status of a mere body of utility consistent with the culture of control and the political and economic interests of the state. Moreover, the question is whether the sustained presence of a critical freedom—notwithstanding its active and deliberate engagement with new forms of pleasure, excess, resistance, and extremism—may be symbolic of the limits of personal and public autonomy traceable to an overly organized and largely scripted hyper-real society. This particular issue draws attention to the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a mechanism of surveillance that increasingly is deployed, marketed, and simulated, and as a sophisticated tool of cultural materialist society that produces a pseudo-reality. This is a virtual state of existence that, knowingly or otherwise, commodifies, technologizes, and, eventually, re-ontologizes the individual. If the above queries are answered in the affirmative, then a host of ethical concerns about the limits of these innovative technologies as appropriated in diverse societal contexts (especially their applications in the criminal law), emerge...This Article examines these issues within the framework of critical social theory and philosophical criminology, with particular focus on the use of fMRI brain-scanning technology as emblematic of the culture of control. For exemplification purposes, this Article showcases the application of this technology in the case of interrogating criminal suspects as well as offenders.