CFP: Paradigms of mens rea: the voluntariness criterion in the criminal law


Philosophy, law and neuroscience. Paradigms of mens rea: the voluntariness criterion in the criminal law 8 – 9 June 2015 | EUI | Florence, Italy

THE CONFERENCE – Cognitive capacity is the ability to understand what the law requires. Volitional capacity is the ability or power to conform one’s actions to the law. The criminal law tends to favor the cognitive capacity test over the volitional. So-called ‘weakness of will’ alone is rejected as an excuse. However, neuroscientific studies suggest that the capacity to refrain from prohibited conduct may be absent, even when the agent is very well aware of the legal, moral and social implications of his behavior.

CALL FOR PAPERS – One slot will be created in the conference programme, to be filled through this CFP. We are interested in contributions by neuroscientists, philosophers, legal scholars, judges and legal practitioners, addressing from diverse scientific and theoretical perspectives the conceptual, neuroscientific and policy aspects of the voluntariness criterion for ascription of criminal responsibility. The selected scholar will give an invited talk, receive full reimbursement of travel expenses and costs of stay, and be our welcome guest at the dinner in beautiful Florence.

To offer a paper, please send a 500-word abstract to by Monday, 23 March 2015. Submissions will be assessed over the subsequent fortnight, with acceptance or rejection letters sent by Monday, 6 April 2015.

Speakers will include:
Colin McGinn
Professor of Philosophy

Michael S. Moore
Professor of Law, Professor of Philosophy, Co-director of the Program in Law and Philosophy
University of Illinois

Stephen J. Morse
Professor of Law, Professor of Psychology in Law and Psychiatry, Associate Director Center for Neuroscience and Society

Michael S. Pardo
Professor of Law
The University of Alabama School of Law

Katrina Sifferd
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Chair of the Philosophy Department
Elmhurst College
Elmhurst, Illinois

Conference location: European University Institute Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia Via Boccaccio, 121 I-50133 Florence Italy

Conference organization: Dennis Patterson, Sofia Moratti EUI Neurolaw Project ‘The Guilty Mind’

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