BOOK LAUNCH: Free Will and the Law: New Perspectives

21 August 2019



BOOK LAUNCH: Free Will and the Law: New Perspectives

Dr Allan McCay, The University of Sydney
Dr Michael Sevel, Sydney Law School

Chief Justice Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia will launch the book.

This volume brings together many of the world's leading theorists of free will and philosophers of law to critically discuss the ground-breaking contribution of David Hodgson's libertarianism and its application to philosophy of law.

The book begins with a comprehensive introduction, providing an overview of the intersection of theories of free will and philosophy of law over the last fifty years. The eleven chapters collected together divide into two groups: the first five address libertarianism within the free will debate, with particular attention to Hodgson's theory, and in Part II, six contributors discuss Hodgson's libertarianism in relation to issues not often pursued by free will scholars, such as mitigation of punishment, the responsibility of judges, the nature of judicial reasoning and the criminal law process more generally. Thus the volume's importance lies not only in examining Hodgson's distinctive libertarian theory from within the free will literature, but also in considering new directions for research in applying that theory to enduring questions about legal responsibility and punishment.

About the authors

Dr Allan McCay

Dr Allan McCay teaches at the University of Sydney Foundation Program, and is an Affiliate Member of the Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics, at Macquarie University. He also lectures in Criminal Law at the University of Sydney Law School. His research interests include behavioural genetics, neuroscience, and neurotechnology, in the context of the criminal law. His philosophical interests relate to the free will problem, philosophy of punishment, and issues relating to the automation of work.

Allan has published in the journals Neuroethics, The Journal of Evolution and Technology, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, The International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, and The Indigenous Law Bulletin, and also in the edited collection Free Will in Criminal Law and Procedure. He is a coeditor of Neurointerventions and the Law: Regulating Human Mental Capacity, which is to be published by Oxford University Press.

Allan initially qualified as a solicitor in Scotland, but has also practised in Hong Kong, and been a visiting researcher at the University of California, Riverside, the University of Stirling, and the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University.

Dr Michael Sevel

Dr Michael Sevel is Senior Lecturer in Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney Law School. He researches issues in general jurisprudence, the rule of law, and moral and political philosophy, and also has interests in issues in international law, maritime law, and torts. He has held visiting appointments in the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, Centre for Ethics and Public Affairs, Tulane University, the Centre for Maritime Law, National University of Singapore, the University of Miami School of Law, and, as Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow, in the Department of Law of the European University Institute. In 2020 he will be a Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Research Centre at The Australian National University.

Information about the book

This book launch is hosted by the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at Sydney Law School..


Time: 5.30-7.00pm (book launch and cocktail reception)

Location: Common Room, Level 4, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown, University of Sydney

Cost: Complimentary, however registration is essential.

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 28104e612e3d0f3e330001204a51451c48692a21361a2c13