Legal Responsibility & Philosoph of Mind (LAWS6827)

UNIT OF STUDY

Many legal doctrines in both criminal and civil law depend upon being able to characterise conduct as intentional, leading to ascriptions of fault, blame or responsibility. Most serious criminal offences depend upon establishing mens rea as a relevant mental element. Civil liability is often dependent upon whether conduct was intended, or whether the cause of loss was brought about by either intentional conduct or conduct involving some lesser notion of fault. All of these doctrines make important assumptions about the nature of our mental states and the operation of mind. Many of these assumptions are philosophically controversial and current developments in the philosophy of mind may lead us to reconsider or radically revise our attitudes to the law. The unit will look at contemporary philosophical work on free will consciousness, mind, and causation and apply this work to present problems in regard to concepts of legal responsibility.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information

Classes

1x2-hr lecture/week

Assessment

class participation exercise (30%) and 6000wd essay (70%), or 7500wd essay (100%)

Textbooks

Lowe, EJ An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Cambridge U.P., Cambridge 2000

Faculty/department permission required?

No

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.