Cain and Abel, ivory panel from the cathedral of Salerno, ca. 1084.
Cain and Abel, ivory panel from the cathedral of Salerno, ca. 1084

Here is the schedule for the ERC research seminar for the Spring term 2019, which runs from January to March. We will meet on Wednesday, from 10.00 to 12.00, in the seminar room, Department of Philosophy, UCL (19 Gordon Square). Notifications for individual meetings will be created in the Events section.

This is an MPhil seminar which may be taken for UCL credits, but we encourage colleagues and especially other postgraduate students (at UCL or elsewhere) to attend. We will cover a variety of topics in philosophy of action and mind, metaphysics of free will, and legal theory. Each week, we will focus on a locus classicus or a background reading, and a more recent, significant work on the topic as the “target” readings, often with the author of the latter present.

In addition to Professor John Hyman (the project’s PI) and Dr Yuuki Ohta (the project’s administrator), Professor Dennis Patterson (Rutgers; Law) will co-convene the seminar.

If you are not a member of UCL but would like to attend, please let us know. A full reading list for the seminar will be circulated at the first meeting, and will be available internally on Moodle. We will also circulate the target readings for each week to the participants.

Dates, topics, and target readings

  • Wed. 9 Jan. Practical reasoning (with Jonathan Dancy)
    • Anscombe, G. E. M. 1989. “Practical Inference” (originally “Von Wright on Practical Inference”). In The Philosophy of Georg Henrik von Wright (eds. P. A. Schlipp and L. E. Hahn; Open Court). Repr. in G. E. M. Anscombe, Human Life, Action and Ethics: Essays by G. E. M. Anscombe (eds. Mary Geach and Luke Gormally; Imprint, 2005).
    • Dancy, Jonathan. 2018. Practical Shape. Oxford UP. Ch. 1 “What Is the (Supposed) Problem about Practical Reasoning?” and ch. 2 “How Practical Reasoning Is Possible.” Available (by subscription) on Oxford Scholarship Online.
  • Wed. 16 Jan. Voluntary action (led by John Hyman)
    • Hart, H. L. A. 2008 (1960). “Acts of will and responsibility.” In The Jubilee Lectures of the Faculty of Law, University of Sheffield (ed. O. R. Marshall; Stevens & Sons). Repr. in Punishment and Responsibility (2nd edn.; Oxford UP).
    • Hyman, John. 2015. Action, Knowledge, and Will. Oxford UP. Ch. 1 “Agency and the Will” and ch. 4 “Voluntariness and Choice.” (See also Appendix “The Modern Theory of the Will.”)
  • Wed. 23 Jan. The act requirement (led by Dennis Patterson)
    • Moore, Michael S. 1993. Act and Crime. Oxford UP. Ch. 1 “Introduction” and ch. 2 “The Doctrinal Unity of the Act Requirement.”
    • Husak, Douglas. 2006. “Rethinking the act requirement.” Cardozo L. Rev. 28: 2437–59.
  • Wed. 30 Jan. Responsibility and liability (led by John Hyman)
    • Hart, H. L. A. 2008 (1967). “Postscript: Responsibility and Retribution.” In Punishment and Responsibility (2nd edn.; Oxford UP).
    • Duff, R. A. 2007. Answering for Crime: Responsibility and Liability in the Criminal Law. Hart. Ch. 1 “Responsibility and Liability.”
  • Wed. 6 Feb. Responsiveness to reasons (led by Yuuki Ohta)
    • Wolf, Susan. 1987. “Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility.” In Responsibility, Character, and the Emotions: New Essays in Moral Psychology (ed. Ferdinand Schoeman; CambridgeUP), 46–62.
    • Raz, Joseph. 2011. From Normativity to Responsibility. Oxford UP. Ch. 12 “Being in the World.”
  • Wed. 13 Feb. UCL reading week—NO MEETING


  • Wed. 20 Feb. Free will and causation (with Christian List)
    • Kenny, Anthony. 1975. Will, Freedom and Power. Blackwell. Ch. 7 “Spontaneity, Indifference, and Ability” and ch. 8 “Freedom and Determinism.”
    • List, Christian. 2014. “Free Will, Determinism, and the Possibility of Doing Otherwise.” Noûs 48 (1): 156–78.
  • Mon. 25 Feb. [Note that this meeting is on Monday] Agential abilities/Abilities and dispositions (with Maria Alvarez)
    • Kenny, Anthony. 1975. Will, Freedom and Power. Blackwell. Ch. 7 “Spontaneity, Indifference, and Ability.”
    • Alvarez, Maria. Forthcoming. “Agency, Ability and Control, I” and “Agency, Ability and Control, II”
  • Wed. 6 Mar. Character, omissions, and responsibility (with Erasmus Mayr)
    • Duff, R. A. 1993. “Choice, Character, and Criminal Liability.” Law and Philosophy 12 (4): 345–83.
    • Mayr, Erasmus. Forthcoming. “Character, ‘Pure’ Omissions, and Responsibility.”
  • Wed. 13 Mar. Economic duress (led by Dennis Patterson)
    • Hyman, John. 2015. Action, Knowledge, and Will. Oxford UP. Ch. 4 “Voluntariness and Choice.”
    • Patterson, Dennis M. 2016. “Rethinking Duress.” Jurisprudence 7 (3): 672–7
  • Wed. 20 Mar. Coercion and consent (with Max Kiener)
    • Miller, Franklin G. and Alan Wertheimer. 2010. “Preface to a Theory of Consent Transactions: Beyond Valid Consent.” In The Ethics of Consent: Theory and Practice (eds. Franklin G. Miller and Alan Wertheimer; Oxford UP), 79–105.
    • Millum, Joseph. 2014. “Consent Under Pressure: The Puzzle of Third Party Coercion.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17: 113–27.

We hope to see many people at the meetings!

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