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Rape and Moral Judgment

I’m currently working a paper that considers the crime of rape from the perspective of dual-process theory of moral judgment. The argument is tricky, but in the end, I claim that rape may sit in a moral blind spot because neither of processes hypothesized by Cushman and others to generate moral judgments are well-suited to […]

2021 Research Update

Well, academic year 2020-2021 has been A LOT. I have been homeschooling my 10 year old off and on, helping my daughter negotiate online high school, and trying to run a department during a pandemic. Both my kids and my faculty have done their best to make things easier, but even so, the last year […]

Projects in the first half of 2020

My first project of 2020 is nearing completion: I just sent in page proofs for a chapter on chemical castration in a fantastic OUP volume edited by Nicole Vincent and Thomas Nadelhoffer. My paper is titled “Chemical Castration and other Direct Brain Interventions as Rehabilitative Treatment,” and the book is titled Neuro-Interventions and the Law. […]

A list of my recent work relevant to Law and Neuroscience

Francis Shen (Harvard, University of Minnesota) recently contacted me to ask what significant work I have done since 2014 that might be relevant to the legal casebook he edits on Law and Neuroscience. Specifically, Francis wants to know “Which parts of your work would you would want law students to read in a Law and Neuroscience […]

Responsible Brains

The book I have written with William Hirstein and Tyler Fagan for MIT Press now has an Amazon page. Our publication date is December 11. I am over the moon about the “blurbs” we earned from some outstanding moral philosophers. Here they are: “Hirstein, Sifferd, and Fagan bring responsibility into closer contact with neuroscience than […]

Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?

Anneli Jefferson and I have just had a paper on psychopathy published in the European Journal of Analytic Philosophy. You can find the paper here. Here’s the abstract: The question of whether psychopaths are criminally and morally responsible has generated significant controversy in the literature. In this paper, we discuss what relevance a psychopathy diagnosis […]

Book Review of Ignorance of Law

My review of Douglas Husak’s book Ignornance of Law: A philosophical inquiry has just been published in the journal Jurisprudence. You can find the review here – if you would like the full review sent via email just drop me a line at Here is the first part of the review: Douglas Husak’s book is an intelligent, […]

Pretrial Detention and Moral Agency

Tyler Fagan and I have just completed a final draft of a chapter for the Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, edited by David Boonin. The introduction to the paper is below; feel free to email me for the full paper. —– At the present moment, roughly three million persons are being held in […]

Status Update

I’ll begin with my elephant project (the biggest thing in any room I visited for about two years now): Bill Hirstein, Tyler Fagan and I submitted our manuscript Responsible Brains to MIT right before Christmas. We hope the book will be released this upcoming fall (fall 2018). We are very pleased with the final product, […]


I am happy to announce that MIT Press has agreed to publish The Responsible Brain, a book I have been writing with my Elmhurst College colleagues William Hirstein and Tyler Fagan. Our research for the book was supported by a Philosophy and Science of Self Control sub-grant as a part of a Templeton Foundation funded project […]