Biological Positivism - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Biological Positivism

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  1. Biological Positivism

  2. Are Criminals Biologically Different from Non-criminals? • Classical School • No • Biological Perspective • Yes

  3. The Birth of Positivist Science • 1800s, optimism about science soars • Scientific method applied to humans

  4. Early Biological Positivism • “With mankind some of the worst dispositions which occasionally without any assignable cause make their appearance in families, may perhaps be reversions to a savage state, from which we are not removed by many generations.” • Darwin 1871, p.137

  5. Lombros’s Theory of Atavism • In 1876, observed physical differences between criminals and non-criminals • Conclusion:

  6. Biological Positivism Today • Biosocial theories

  7. Biochemical Theories • Criminal behavior is influenced by • Diet, hormones, environmental contaminants • Examples • Lead poisoning linked to aggression and low IQ • 1979 murder of Mayor Harvey Milk • Twinkie defense, diminished capacity manslaughter rather than 1st deg murder

  8. Biosocial Theory of Testosterone and Crime • Booth and Osgood (1993) • High testosterone leads young children to behave aggressively, which alienate others • This leads to fewer social bonds, which over time, increase crime • Conclusion

  9. Ethical Concerns

  10. Positivist Criminology Today • Positivism dominates academic criminology • Tenets of Positivism