As YeZ points out in this answer, "daat" is the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do sociopaths and/or psychopaths lack the דעת of the distinction between good and evil?

  • @Shokhet, thank you for fixing the tags -- I wasn't sure which tags to use.
    – bluebunny
    Nov 23, 2014 at 3:04
  • No problem -- it's an interesting question :)
    – MTL
    Nov 23, 2014 at 3:06
  • Hey crash -- your question made it to Twitter! twitter.com/StackJudaism/status/536366981541548032
    – MTL
    Nov 23, 2014 at 5:23
  • The different between sociopath and psychopath is nearly linked to your question. Sociopath conduct is a product of his background, may be that he know less the difference. Contrarily, psychopath com from a normative background. He made the choice to live aside the social value of truth and justice. This similary a little to a Rasha. But ideally everybody has an inner compass to know good and evil, not 100% and not 0%
    – kouty
    Jul 11, 2016 at 7:04
  • According to psychologists, pysco and socio paths,are aware of their actions ,but feel no remorse,so they can tell the diff between good and evil,and will many times use this info to manipulate others
    – sam
    Dec 23, 2018 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


Traditionally the answer to this question is ein adam choteh ela im kein nichnas bo ruach shtus, a person does not sin unless a spirit of insanity has entered him.

So the question is, he should always be patur?

And the answer is he is chayav for letting the ruach shtus enter him and the consequences thereof.

But if the person is deranged this logic is inapplicable.

Virtually the whole of 'Rational Irrational Man' addresses this question.

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