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Minnesota Law Review

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This Article confronts this clash between legal and scientific perspectives on consciousness by proposing new ways to structure the voluntary act requirement so that it incorporates the insights of modern science on the human mind. Part I examines the criminal law's voluntary act requirement, particularly in the context of the MPC's influential provision, which reflects the law and psychology of the era in which the MPC was originally developed--the 1950s. Part II analyzes the new science of “consciousness,” a term that typically refers to the sum of a person's thoughts, feelings, and sensations, as well as the everyday circumstances and culture in which those thoughts, feelings, and sensations are formed. Part III investigates how defenses involving voluntary acts can be confused conceptually with other key criminal law defenses, primarily insanity, thereby resulting in vastly disparate dispositions for similarly situated defendants. Part IV considers possible solutions to this predicament.