Psychopathic Personalities and Developmental Systems

Hane Htut Maung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Is psychopathy born or made? Contemporary psychopathy research shows that there is much wrong with this question. It is increasingly accepted that the development of psychopathy is dependent on multiple causal factors interacting with one another. However, there remains the major theoretical challenge of understanding the relations between these multiple causal factors in the developmental process. In this paper, I argue that the conventional picture of gene-environment interactionism does not offer an adequate account of psychopathy development. Instead, I propose that a theoretical framework from the philosophy of biology, namely developmental systems theory, can facilitate a better understanding of psychopathy development that captures the contingent and dynamic relations between multiple causal factors. Some practical implications of a developmental systems theory approach to psychopathy are also explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-528
Number of pages27
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021


  • Psychopathy
  • causal parity
  • developmental systems theory
  • dynamic interactionism
  • philosophy of biology


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