Skip to main content
Unit of study_

Legal Responsibility and Philosophy of Mind - LAWS6827

Year - 2018

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.

1x2-hr lecture/week

class participation exercise (20%) and 6000wd essay (80%)

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


Faculty: Sydney Law School

Semester 2

30 Jul 2018

Department/School: Law
Study Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
Census Date: 31 Aug 2018
Unit of study level: Postgraduate
Credit points: 6.0
EFTSL: 0.125
Available for study abroad and exchange: No
Faculty/department permission required? No
More details
Unit of Study coordinator: Adj Prof Christopher Birch
HECS Band: 3
Courses that offer this unit

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 undertake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.