Katrina L. Sifferd │ CURRICULUM VITAE

Department of Philosophy, Elmhurst University

190 Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126


Academic Positions

  • Current – Professor and Chair, Philosophy Department, and Genevieve Staudt Endowed Chair, Elmhurst University
  • Current – Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Neuroethics (Springer)
  • 2012-2017: Associate Professor of Philosophy, Elmhurst College
  • 2008-2012: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Elmhurst College
  • 2006-2008: Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Elmhurst College
  • 2004-2005: Rockefeller Fellow in Law and Public Policy and Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College (Post-Doctoral Fellowship)


Areas of Specialization: Responsibility and Punishment; Criminal Law; Philosophy of Mind; Neuroethics/Neurolaw

Area of Competence: Ancient Philosophy


October, 2004: Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of London, King’s College

Thesis: “Psychology and the Criminal Law” (Supervised by David Papineau)

August, 2001: M.A. in Philosophy, University of London, King’s College

Granted the Susan B. Stebbing Studentship for Study in Philosophy (tuition scholarship);

Earned First Class Honors in Philosophy of Mind

Thesis: “How to Dissolve, Not Solve, the Frame Problem”

June, 1996: J.D., DePaul University College of Law

Named Best Orator of the 1996 student class

Admitted on tuition scholarship as a Dean’s Scholar

June, 1993: B.A. in Psychology, Valparaiso University (Cum Laude)


Works in Progress or Under Review

(in progress) “Helping Minds Like Ours Earn Their Desert,” to be presented at Michael Moorefest (May 12, 2022 Rutgers Law School).

(under review) “Culpability and Punishment for Reckless Rape,” with Anneli Jefferson, for special issue of Humana Mente – New Work on Agency and Responsibility, Oisin Deery Ed.

(in progress)“Blurred Lines: Complicity and Injustice in Cases of Rape,” to be presented at Injustice, Resistance and Complicity Workshop, June 14-15, 2022, University of Groningen.

(under review) “Ecological accounts of moral agency and the importance of moral audience,” with Anneli Jefferson.

Selected Publications


(2018) Responsible Brains: Neuroscience, Law, and Human Culpability, with William Hirstein and Tyler Fagan, MIT press.

Journal Articles

(forthcoming) “Practical Wisdom and Cognitive Diversity,” with Anneli Jefferson, in Values and Virtues in a Changing World, Royal Institute of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume (Jefferson, A., Panos, P., Palermos, O., and Webber, J., Eds.).

(2022) “Negligence and Normative Import: A reply to comments on Responsible Brains,” with Tyler Fagan, Criminal Law & Philosophy 22, 1-18. Response to comments on the book Responsible Brains (Hirstein, Sifferd, and Fagan, 2018).

(2021) “How is criminal punishment forward-looking?”, The Monist 104(4), 540-553 (A. Jefferson and P. Robichard, Eds of special issue).

(2021) “Why not weak retributivism?” Journal of Legal Philosophy 46(2), 138-143. Comment on Rejecting Retributivism by Gregg Caruso (2021).

(2021) “Authors’ Reply: Negligence and Normative Import,” with Tyler Fagan, reply to comments on the book Responsible Brains: Neuroscience, Law, & Human Culpability, in Criminal Law & Philosophy 22: 1-19.

(2020) “Philosophy Labs: Bringing Pedagogy and Research Together,” with Kit Rempala and Joseph Vukov, Teaching Philosophy 44(2): 187-206.

(2018) “Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?” with Anneli Jefferson, European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, special issue on psychopathy, 14(1), 79-96 (Jurjako, M. & Malatesti, L. Eds).

(2018) “Grounding responsibility in something (more) solid,” Commentary on Talking to Ourselves: Reflection, Ignorance, and Agency by John M. Doris, Behaviorial & Brain Sciences 41, 27-29.

(2017) “The Epistemology of Domestic Intelligence Gathering by Drone,” with Robert Brice, Louisiana Law Review 77(3): 805-831.

(2016) “Innocent Minds: Child Soldiers, Executive Functions, and Culpability,” with Ty Fagan and William Hirstein, International Criminal Law Review 16 (2): 258-286.

(2014) “What does it mean to be a mechanism? Morse, Non-Reductivism, and Mental Causation,” special edition of Criminal Law & Philosophy on the work of Stephen Morse (N. Vincent Ed.): 1-17.

(2013) “On the Criminal Culpability of Successful versus Unsuccessful Psychopaths” (with William Hirstein), Neuroethics 6: 129-140.

(2011) “The Legal Self: Executive Process and Legal Theory”, with William Hirstein, Consciousness & Cognition, 20, 156-171.

(2008) “Nanotechnology and the Attribution of Responsibility”, Nanotechnology Law and Business Journal, 5(2), 177-190.

(2006) “In Defense of the Use of Commonsense Psychology in the Criminal Law,” Law & Philosophy 25: 571-612.

Book Chapters

(in press) “Do Rapists Deserve Criminal Punishment?” in the Palgrave Handbook on Philosophy of Punishment, (Altman, M. Ed.)

(forthcoming) “Do Rape Cases sit in a Moral Blindspot?“, in Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Action, Routledge Press (Sam Murray & Paul Henne, Eds.).

(2022) “Neuroethics,” with Joshua VanArsdall, book chapter in Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience: A Philosophical Introduction, Routledge Press (B. Young and C. Dicey Jennings, eds.).

(2022) “Legal Insanity and Moral Knowledge: Why is a lack of moral knowledge related to a mental illness exculpatory?” book chapter in Agency, Responsibility, & Mental Disorder: Exploring the Connections, under contract,  Oxford University Press (Matt King & Joshua May, Eds.).

(2021) “Child Soldiers, Executive Functions, and Culpability,” with Ty Fagan and William Hirstein, Biolaw and International Criminal Law, Brill Publishers (C. Fournet & A. Matwijkiw Eds.).

(2020) “Juvenile Self-Control and Legal Responsibility: Building a Scalar Standard,” with Tyler Fagan and William Hirstein, in Surrounding Self-Control, Oxford University Press (A. Mele, Ed.).

(2020) “Chemical Castration as Punishment,” in Neuro-Interventions and the Law, Oxford University Press (N. Vincent & Nadelhoffer, T. Eds.).

(2018) “Pretrial Detention and Moral Agency” with Tyler Fagan, in The Palgrave Handbook on Philosophy and Public Policy, (Boonin, D. Ed.), 11-23.

(2018) “Non-Eliminative Reductionism: Not the theory of the mind/body relationship some criminal law theorists want, but the one they need,” in Neurolaw and Responsibility for Action: Concepts, Crimes and Courts, Cambridge University Press (M. Patterson & B. Donnelly-Lazarov eds.).

(2017) “Legal Insanity and Executive Function,” in The Insanity Defense: Multidisciplinary Views on Its History, Trends, and Controversies, Palgrave Macmillan (White, M. Ed.).

(2016) “Unconscious Mens Rea: Responsibility for lapses and minimally conscious states” in Law and Neuroscience: Philosophical Foundations, Oxford University Press (D. Patterson and Pardo, M., Eds.).

(2016) “Virtue Ethics and Criminal Punishment,” in From Personality to Virtue, Oxford University Press (Weber and Masala, Eds.)

(2014) “The Significance of Psychopaths for Human Ethics,” with William Hirstein, in Brain Theory: Essays in Critical Neurophilosophy, Palgrave Macmillan (Charles Wolfe, Ed.).

(2012) “Translating Scientific Evidence into the Language of the Folk: Executive Function as Capacity-Responsibility” in Legal Responsibility and Neuroscience, OUP series on neuroscience and law (N. Vincent, Ed., series editors: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Lynn Nadel, and Fred Schauer).

(2007) “Can Baird’s View of Adolescent Morality Inform Adolescent Criminal Justice Policy?” in Moral Psychology Vol. 3: The Neuroscience of Morality, Bradford Books (W. Sinnott-Armstrong, Ed.).

Book Reviews & Encyclopedia Entries

(2018) “Ought Ignorance of Criminal Law (and Its Morality) Excuse?” Essay review of Ignorance of Law: A Philosophical Inquiry by Douglas Husak, Jurisprudence 9(1), 186-191.

(2016) Essay Review of An Expressive Theory of Punishment by Bill Wringe (London: Palgrave Macmillian), Ethics 127(1): 319-323.

(2016) “Neuroethics” for the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (3nd Edition), Elsevier, OUP (V.S. Ramachandran, Ed.).

(2003) “You Can Get There From Here”, Essay Review of Daniel Dennett, Freedom Evolves, British Journal of the History and Philosophy of Psychology 5(1), 107.

(2003) Essay Review of Carolyn Price, Functions in Mind: A Theory of Intentional Content, British Journal of the History and Philosophy of Psychology 5(1), 104.

(2003) “Making sense of modern Darwinism”, Review of Laland and Brown, Sense and Nonsense, Heredity 90, 418.

Non-Philosophy Publications

(2010) “The Unique Challenges Posed by Mock Trial:  Evaluation and Assessment of a Simulation Course”, co-authored with Teri Bengtson, Journal of Political Science Education, 6(1), 70-86.

(2002) “A Process and Impact Evaluation of Cook County’s State’s Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Assistance Program”, Report Prepared for the National Institute of Justice, written with Stevens, P., Myrent, M. and Lurigio, A. (available at: http://www.icjia.org/public/pdf/researchreports/CCSAOVWAP.pdf).

Selected Academic Presentations

(2022) Southampton Ethics Centre seminar, “What would your mother say? Scaffolded reasons-responsiveness and moral responsibility” with Anneli Jefferson (online, January 27)

(2021) LATAM Free Will summer seminar (funded by the Templeton Foundation), “Brain Science and Responsibility” (online, July 29-30)

(2020) UCL Philosophy Department seminar, “Legal Insanity and Moral Knowledge” (online, October 29)

(2020) Loyola University Chicago, Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, Keynote Speaker, “What we can learn about responsibility from psychopaths” (April 25, cancelled due to Coronavirus).

(2020) Rutgers School of Law, Conference on Responsible Brains, responses to comments (May 21-22, cancelled due to Coronavirus).

(2019) Columbia University, Conference on Thinking Morally about Genetics and Agency, “Genetics and Criminal Punishment” (New York, December 12-13).

(2019) American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting, “Rethinking the Moral Agency and Responsibility of Persons with Autism,” with Anneli Jefferson (Vancouver, April 17).

(2018) Harper College, “Are psychopaths responsible?” (Illinois, November 8).

(2018) Northern Illinois University, “Criminal Detention and Moral Agency,” (Illinois, April 20).

(2018) Columbia University (Zuckerman Institute), “Responsibility, Punishment and Psychopathy: At the Crossroads of Law, Neurocriminology and Philosophy,” (New York, April 9).

(2017) Sydney Law School, Neuroscience & Society Conference, “Is Neuroscience Relevant to Criminal Responsibility? Yes and No.” Public Lecture (Australia, September 14).

(2017) Duke University, “Neuroscience and Criminal Responsibility,” the second Summer Seminar in Neuroscience and Philosophy (SSNAP2), (May 27).

(2017) University of Calgary Graduate Philosophy Conference, “The Responsible Brain,” Keynote Speaker (Calgary, Canada, May 4).

(2017) American Philosophical Association Pacific Meeting, “Saving Retributive Desert,” Invited Panelist (Washington, April 13).

(2015) Conference on the Philosophy and Science of Self Control Templeton Grants “The Responsible Brain” (Florida State University, December 6-7).

(2015) Invited participant and presenter at the Mind/Brain/Responsibility Roundtable organized by Michael Moore (University of Illinois School of Law) and Richard Fumerton (University of Iowa) (Galena, IL, Sept. 24-27).

(2015) Conference on Paradigms of Mens Rea: The voluntariness criterion in the criminal law, “Reductivist Mens Rea” (European Union Institute, Florence, Italy, June 8-9).

(2015) Conference on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Moral Responsibility, “The Brain Functions that Make Us Responsible (or Not)” (Utah Valley University, March 27-28).

(2015) University of Michigan, Mind and Moral Psychology Working Group, “Is Consciousness Necessary for Criminal Responsibility?” (March 9).

(2015) University of Bristol Colloquium talk, “Is Consciousness Necessary for Criminal Responsibility?” (February 10).

(2015) University of Cardiff Colloquium talk, “Is Consciousness Necessary for Criminal Responsibility?” (February 9).

(2014) International Conference: Neuro-interventions and the Law, “Using Neuro-interventions to Rehabilitate Sex Offenders” (Georgia State September 12-14).

(2014) Ethical Humanist- Society, Skokie, IL, “Consciousness and Criminal Responsibility” (January 19).

(2013) Dominican University, Siena Center, “Consciousness and Criminal Responsibility” (October 10).

(2013) European University Institute School of Law, Florence, Italy, “Morse, Non-Reductivism, and Mental Causation” (June 11).

(2013) Zygon Center, Chicago Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science, “The Criminal Character and Virtue Theory” (April 29).

(2012) University of Nebraska, Duluth Colloquium talk, “On the Responsibility of Psychopaths” (November 30).

(2012) University of Missouri, St. Louis Colloquium talk, “On the Responsibility of Psychopaths” (November 2).

(2012) Character and Personality Conference, “Neuro-Rehabilitation and the Criminal Character” (Paris-Sorbonne University July 3-4).

(2012) Society for Philosophy and Psychology annual conference, “On the Criminal Culpability of Successful versus Unsuccessful Psychopaths” (University of Colorado Boulder, June 22-24).

(2012) American Philosophical Association Central Division Annual Meeting, “Punishment of Late Stage Demented Offenders” (Comment on Annette Durfner’s paper, “Late Stage Demented Offenders”) (February 17)

(2011) Law & Science Young Scholars Symposium, European Center for Law, Science and New Technologies (ECLT), “Changing the Criminal Character: Nanotechnology and Criminal Sentencing” (University of Pavia, Italy, June 9).

(2009) International Conference ‘Moral Responsibility: Neuroscience, Organization & Engineering,’ “Using Executive Function as a Bridge to Neuroscience in the Criminal Courts” (Delft University, the Netherlands, August 24-27)

(2007) IIT Chicago Kent College of Law Institute for Biotechnology and the Human Future Symposium ‘The Spotless Mind,’  “The Intersect of Science and Criminal Responsibility” (Comment upon Patricia Churchland’s Keynote Address) (National Press Club, Washington DC, February 16).

(2007) IIT Kent College of Law Institute for Biotechnology and the Human Future Symposium on ‘Body Worlds,’ “Commoditization, Consent and Empathy” (January 26).

(2006) American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division “On the Dangers of Allowing Soldiers to Dictate Public Policy with Their Feet” (Comment upon ‘Soldiers, Slaves and the Liberal State’ by David Garren) (December 30).

(2005) American Philosophical Association, Central Division “Eliminativism about Commonsense Psychological Concepts in the Criminal Law” (Colloquium Session) (April 28).

(2005) Legal Studies Program, Dartmouth College “The Role of Psychology in the Criminal Law” (February 2).

(2004) Society for the Evolutionary Analysis in Law Annual Meeting “Scientific Psychology and the Criminal Law” (Atlanta, October 13-15).

(2003) Human Behavior and Evolution Society, “Eliminativism about Folk Psychology in the Criminal Law” (Lincoln, Nebraska, June 3-6).

(2003) Brain and Cognition Research Group, “Commonsense Psychology as the Grounds for Attributions of Culpability in Criminal Law” (Nottingham Trent University, May 21).

(2002) Inaugural Speech, Departmental Weekend at Cumberland Lodge “Serving Dinner vs. Saving Lives: Applying Philosophy to Criminal Law” (Philosophy Department, King’s College London, Oct 11).

(2002) Evolution and the Emotions Working Group, “The Difference between Ignorance and Dismissal: A Solution to the Frame Problem” (King’s College London, March 20).

(2002) Darwin @ LSE Work In Progress Group, “How to Avoid the Frame Problem” (London School of Economics, Feb 25).

(2001) Symposium on the Frame Problem, “How to Avoid the Frame Problem” (New College, Oxford University, Nov 15).

Non-Academic Work Experience

1996-1998          Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Chicago, Illinois Senior Research Analyst/Criminologist

Contract employee funded by the National Institute of Justice. Managed a $450,000 federal project to assess the physical and psychological effects of victimization and the ability of the judicial system to address victim needs. Performed analysis of crime trends and juvenile and female offenders.

Professional Memberships

American Philosophical Association, Central Division

Society for Philosophy and Psychology

Illinois Bar Association, licensed attorney

Other Honors, Awards and Activities

Reviewer for Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.

Reviewer for the journals Erkenntnis, Synthese, Philosophical Review, Res Philosophica, Neuroethics, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, and Social Theory and Practice, Criminal Law & Philosophy; European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, Teaching Philosophy.

Former contributing Editor for the blog http://www.philosophyofbrains.org.

Certified to Defend Capital Murder Cases in Illinois (Moot now due to the Illinois moratorium on the death penalty)

External Grants Awarded

2015-2016          Awarded $50,000 sub-grant as a part of the Philosophy of Self-Control Templeton Foundation grant headed by Al Mele (Florida State University)

2012                 Awarded $1,000 from the MacArthur Foundation (and $3,500 from the Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching) to attend Neuroscience Bootcamp at the University of Pennsylvania (July 30-August 9)

Internal Grants Awarded

2010                 Awarded $3,500 to do interdisciplinary research on the topic of ethics and the criminal law; used $1,000 of these funds to support a student research assistant (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)

2010                 Awarded a $4000 faculty grant with Pat Ackles (Chair, Psychology Department) to develop a bi-disciplinary general education course on Neuroethics (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)

2009                 Awarded $1,000 to support students in their undergraduate research (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)

2009                 Awarded a $4,000 faculty grant with Richard Greenleaf (Chair, Criminal Justice Department) to develop a bi-disciplinary course on Capital Punishment (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)

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