Faculty of Law

Seeking a common understanding of mental illness and insanity

Law professor Linda Gröning, psychiatrist Unn K. Haukvik and philosopher Susanna Radovic sheds light on delusions and insanity. The goal is a common understanding across disciplines which will result in better judicial decisions.

Professor Linda Gröning gave the interdisciplinary lecture Criminal Insanity - Medical, Philosophical and Legal Perspectives, at Bergen Global's premises. Here we see (from the left) Susanna Radovic, Unn K. Haukvik and Linda Gröning.
Kim E. Andreassen

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Even though psychoses usually are associated with psychiatric disorders, it can be difficult to distinguish between delusions and ideological beliefs. This was a challenge that emerged in the July 22 case regarding insanity.

- In Norway and other parts of the world, there is too little knowledge about mental illness in the judicial system. It goes beyond the rule of law and the security of society, says Professor Linda Gröning at the Faculty of Law. She is the project leader of DIMENSIONS, which is supported by the Research Council.

On Thursday the 19th of August, Gröning gave the interdisciplinary lecture Criminal Insanity - Medical, Philosophical and Legal Perspectives, directed by the Center on Law and Social Transformation.

- With an interdisciplinary approach, we get more perspectives that will increase the understanding of the complexity around delusions and criminal insanity. The goal is increased knowledge and better judicial decisions, says Gröning.

.Gröning was accompanied by psychiatrist and associate professor Unn K. Haukvik at the University of Oslo and philosopher Susanna Radovic at the University of Gothenburg. They are all linked to the DIMENSIONS project.

Together they tried to find out if it is possible to find a common language and approach to the problem.

- Psychiatrists, philosophers and lawyers speak slightly different languages ​​when it comes to insanity. We use the same words, but they have different meanings. In this project, we hope to speak the same language, says Haukvik.

- Philosophy can help to get an overview of what we really mean when we talk about responsibility and insanity, and then contribiute to build a sustainable system to choose the most reasonable view of the problem, states Radovic.