Stephanie West Allen at Idealawg thinks so. In her post, Neurolaw: leaving out a big piece of the puzzle, she says we should take into account how “the mind can be in control [of our brains] if we want it to be”. What is at stake? Responsibility for our actions. However, I wonder if our brains are plastic enough to permit the sort of control over our brains that her position requires.
Even if it does, I don’t see how neuroplasticity can mount a good defense of anti-materialism. Relying on material phenomena to dodge the materialist bullet seems… odd, to say the least.
She also raises the interesting question, are we under a moral or legal obligation to cultivate our brains’ capacity to behave responsibly? I, for one, would be a tad alarmed if governments enacted legislation to promote or enforce the ‘mental sculpting’ she describes. It’s almost as scary as neuromarketing.