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Those who plan to attend the Aims of Belief conference might be interested in knowing about another conference in Oslo earlier that week, on June 8 and 9.

Title: The Atypical Perpetrator
Date: 8. jun. 2009 09:30 – 9. jun. 2009 15:30
Place: Auditorium 14, Domus Biblioteca Legg til i kalender
Theme: This conference is concerned with the relationships between ethics, psychiatry and criminal responsibility.

The full program and registration information can be found here:

http://www.jus.uio.no/ikrs/arrangementer/2009/2009_psychiatry_June.htm l

To register, please contact Per Jørgen Ystehede: p.j.ystehede@jus.uio.no

Overview:
Philosophers, lawyers, psychiatrists, criminologists and psychologists share an interest in the human mind and behaviour. Although the perspectives and approaches vary significantly between the disciplines, there is much to be learned from a cross-disciplinary dialogue on these matters, not least with regard to how we should relate to “atypical” agents (agents who lack moral or rational competence), when it comes to questions of moral responsibility, liability to be punished and treatment.

These questions will be addressed at a multidisciplinary seminar at the University of Oslo on June 8-9, 2009. There will be speakers and commentators representing the fields of psychiatry, law and philosophy, but also representing the different legal and psychiatric traditions of different countries. Among the speakers are:

* Stephen Morse, Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology and Law in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania
* Matt Matravers, Professor at the Department of Politics, University of York
* Vidar Halvorsen, Associate Professor at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law at the University of Oslo
* Randi Rosenqvist, psychiatrist, former Head of the Norwegian Forensic Medical Board
* Adina Roskies, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Dartmouth College
* John Gunn, Emeritus Professor of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London

About the topic of the seminar:
Most theories of punishment and moral censorship have a retributive component; sanctions are justified by reference to some kind of desert. This is true both of purely retributive theories of punishment claiming that criminals ought to be punished because they deserve punishment, and mixed versions where punishment is primarily justified as a form of prevention, but where desert operates as a constraint, so that no one should be punished unless they are at fault. For an agent to be deserving of desert, he must fulfil certain criteria of moral and legal competence: it is an empirical question whether these criteria are met in a concrete case, but it is also a legal/philosophical question what these criteria should be.

‘Atypical’ perpetrators are persons who in one way or another seem to have a defect in their moral and/or legal competence, and who, at least prima facie, are thus not fit for punishment. Psychotics, the mentally disabled, small children and people who are ‘unconscious’ at the time of the crime are normally excluded from legal responsibility. Other cases – paradigmatically presented by the psychopath – are more troubling. Psychopaths may be defined as people who are rational and thus able to predict the consequences of their actions and capable of understanding social rules and the consequences of violating rules; hence they are often seen as legally responsible. Yet they are assumed not to be morally competent because they lack the ability to grasp, apply and be motivated by moral reasons.

Among the questions raised by atypical perpetrators, and which will be discussed at the workshop are:

* Is there an overlap between legal and moral responsibility, and is the overlap dependent on which kind of theory one appeals to in justifying punishment?
* How do we deal with persons who are rationally capable but morally incompetent?
* What is the significance of underlying neurobiological features for determining when an agent lacks the capacity for being held responsible?
* To which extent does our view on atypical perpetrators affect our views on typical perpetrators? Can we draw general lessons about responsibility from such cases? In particular, if we argue that atypical perpetrators are not legally responsible because of certain neurological defects, what does this imply for the case of typical perpetrators, whose actions are also due to their neurological underpinnings?

Philosophers, lawyers, psychiatrists, criminologists and psychologists share an interest in the human mind and behaviour. Although the perspectives and approaches vary significantly between the disciplines, there is much to be learned from a cross-disciplinary dialogue on these matters, not least with regard to how we should relate to “atypical” agents (agents who lack moral or rational competence), when it comes to questions of moral responsibility, liability to be punished and treatment.

Programme details:

Monday June 8

09.30 Coffee

Welcome/Introduction (Lene Bomann-Larsen/Jakob Elster): 10.00-10.30

Session 1: 10.30-12.00; Stephen Morse: “The Responsibility and Social Control of Psychopathic Offenders”; commentator: Pål Hartvig

Lunch: 1200-1300

Session 2: 13.00-14.30; Adina Roskies: “Beyond Freedom and Resentment: Causation and the atypical perpetrator”; commentator: Jon Lindstrøm

Coffee Break: 1430-1500

Session 3: 15.00-16.30; Vidar Halvorsen: “Punishing «Psychopaths»”; commentator: Øyvind Holst

Tuesday June 9

Session 4: 9.00-10.30; John Gunn: “Dr Shipman – A very unusual case?”; commentator: TBA

Coffee break

Session 5: 1100-1230; Randi Rosenqvist: “The Norwegian Insanity Defence, in theory different from the rest of the world.”; commentator: Olav Gjelsvik

Lunch 12.30-13.30

Session 6: 13.30-15.00; Matt Matravers: “Psychopathy: the politics of responsibility and dangerousness; commentator”: Jakob Elster

You will find the abstracts here.


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