This book is not a primer on forensic psychiatry, however. Reznek goes back to his roots as a philosopher to understand why, under certain circumstances, we excuse criminal behavior. He notes that one can perform an evil act such as murder without being an evil person, e.g., in self-defense. He demonstrates that the essential components of most excuses (i.e., that a person is not responsible if he was not in control of his actions or was ignorant of what he was doing) originate in the writings of Aristotle about ignorance and compulsion. Reznek clearly and cogently leads the reader to the conclusion, not previously addressed by philosophers or the law, that our judgment should be based on whether the offender is someone whose actions are consistent with his basically good character. Interestingly, after philosophically arriving at this conclusion, he demonstrates that, despite the legal rules, juries, using "folk psychology," already tend to ascribe responsibility to and punish those with evil characters and excuse good characters.