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Peter Cane – “Responsibility in Law, Legal Theory and (Legal) Philosophy” (Roots of Responsibility special lecture)

23 May 2019, 5:00 PM7:00 PM BST

The first of the Roots of Responsibility ERC project special invited lectures will be given by Professor Peter Cane. The details of the lecture are as follows:

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?

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 <y.ohta@ucl.ac.uk>.

The second lecture in this series will be given by Professor John Dupré (Exeter). See details of it here.

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.


23 May 2019
5:00 PM–7:00 PM BST
Event Category:


Senate House, University of London
Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HU United Kingdom
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