Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 August 2021
This chapter completes the account begun in Chapter 4 of why psychopaths are unable to see other people as sources of value. I argue that as well as, and partly because of, their emotional deficiencies, psychopaths suffer a severe deficit of empathy, either from birth or brought on by abuse or neglect in childhood. Based on evidence from developmental psychology, I argue that empathy plays a central role in the way we come to ascribe value to entities other than ourselves. Lacking this crucial developmental stage, psychopaths reach adulthood without the capacity to see others as valuable. Because they lack this capacity due to factors which they cannot be expected to change, they are not morally responsible for lacking it. They are therefore not morally responsible for the failure to respond to certain reasons which stems from this lack. Finally, I consider other disorders of low empathy, specifically autism spectrum disorder and borderline personality disorder, and give an account of why these conditions do not apparently lead to the same outcomes in respect of the ability to value others.