The Roots of Responsibility ERC project team is pleased to announce two special lectures by invited speakers, Professor Peter Cane (Cambridge) and Professor John Dupré (Exeter). All are welcome. We encourage colleagues and especially postgraduate students to attend. Please spread the word.

The details for these lectures are as follows:

(1) Special lecture by Professor Peter Cane

Thursday 23 May, 17.00–19.00.
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House
Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Title: Responsibility in Law, Legal Theory and (Legal) Philosophy

Abstract: Law is a human artefact. One of its uses is to establish and apply criteria for the existence and allocation of responsibility for bad outcomes. It does this by claiming to provide authoritative reasons for action and by selectively underwriting those claims with coercion. Law has at least three characteristics relevant to understanding its approach to responsibility (amongst other things). First, it is the product of a messy, relatively uncoordinated set of ongoing social practices involving indefinite numbers of agents. Second, it is local, not universal. Third, law has a time dimension: one if its uses is to mediate between stability and change, and it does this by being characteristically provisional and flexible. Within these parameters, law poses and answers a plethora of questions about responsibility. Both the questions and the answers reflect law’s characteristics and uses. Responsibility in law is defined by those questions and answers. Moreover, law is a mode of practical reasoning. It does not purport to answer ‘theoretical’ or ‘philosophical’ questions. What then, if anything, does it have to offer theorists and philosophers?

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(2) Special lecture by Professor John Dupré

Tuesday 4 June, 17.00–19.00.
UCL Philosophy Department, Seminar Room (First Floor) [*note the change of venue]
19 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AG

Title: Free Will in a World of Process

Abstract: For many years I have defended the view that, contrary to a very widely shared assumption, a radically indeterministic metaphysics does provide a way of understanding human freedom as a real and important feature of the world. I have also defended such a radically indeterministic metaphysics. However, my articulation of these views has developed in two significant respects. First, whereas I used to think of this as a solution to the free will problem within the tradition of radical voluntarism, I now prefer to present it under the rubric of indeterminist compatibilism. Second, the metaphysics in which I embed this view is now a fully processual one, and I view the human as a powerful continuant process. This metaphysical context provides a novel and satisfying home for such a view of free will.

After the lecture and Q&A session, we will have drinks and dinner with the speaker. A limited number of places is available for the dinner. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Yuuki Ohta at <>.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Institute of Philosophy at the School of Advanced Study (SAS) at the University of London, which is co-hosting these events.

We hope to see many of you at these events!