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Riggall, R.M. (1926). Clinical: A. F. Tredgold. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1926, Vol. VI, p. 1.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:253.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Clinical: A. F. Tredgold. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1926, Vol. VI, p. 1.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:253

Clinical: A. F. Tredgold. The Definition and Diagnosis of Moral Imbecility. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1926, Vol. VI, p. 1.

Robert M. Riggall

The legal concept of moral imbecility is that of a combination of mental defect and marked misconduct. Having traced the evolution of the moral sentiment, Tredgold states that there is an important difference between moral sentiment, which is emotional and conative, and moral perception, which is purely intellectual. He believes in the existence of an innate potentiality for the development of moral sense. Correct conduct is dependent on the degree of development which the controlling functions of mind have attained and the strength of the innate tendencies to be controlled. The latter vary considerably in different individuals. In a large number of cases where moral sense is poorly developed there is sufficient wisdom to control misbehaviour. Tredgold believes that the psychological basis of moral imbecility consists of an innate defect of moral sense and wisdom, associated with strong anti-social tendencies. The definition of moral imbecility is accurate, but he would substitute 'defective' for 'imbecile'; Burt's term of 'temperamental defective' is apt to lead to confusion. He would hesitate to diagnose the condition before adolescence.

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Article Citation

Riggall, R.M. (1926). Clinical. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:253

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