July–September 2022

I attended several conferences during the summer months, notably, the SoPhA 22 conference at the University of Neuchâtel, Les Valeurs du Savoir, where I gave a talk about the relationship between knowledge and belief; the ALWS annual Wittgenstein symposium in Kirchberg, where I also taught the summer school with Prof. Hans-Johann Glock; and another conference devoted to Wittgenstein, in Prague, Wittgenstein and Philosophy for the 21st Century, supported by the Sekyra Foundation, which has provided extraordinarily generous support for philosophy in Europe in recent years. But along with a couple of days by the swimming pool in Kirchberg with my three-year-old son, and a cycle ride from Kirchberg to Trattenbach, the highlight of my summer was the Bergen conference, Mental Disorder, Culpability and the Criminal Law, which Roots of Responsibility held jointly with the DIMENSIONS project headed by Linda Gröning. The conference was planned by Claire Hogg and Tova Bennet, and explored the different ways in which mental disorder is addressed in different criminal jurisdictions.  More information about this fascinating topic and about Claire’s research can be found here. —John Hyman

Over the summer, I was able to spend some time in New York visiting friends and family. I also worked towards deadlines for getting drafts of two different papers into shape. Oded Na’aman and I were invited to submit our co-authored paper to a special issue of Philosophical Studies, so I spent half of the summer revising and polishing that paper with him. (The title of that paper has changed since I last wrote an update about it, but I’ll refrain from sharing the new title now since it’s under review! But in any case, the paper is about the relationship between certain value properties and the fittingness of etymologically-corresponding responses—e.g., the admirable and fitting admiration, the amusing and fitting amusement, etc.) I also worked on a newer paper, ‘Hypocritical Blame Is Unfitting.’ I presented a very early draft of that paper in July at an online workshop for early career moral responsibility scholars, organized by Leo Menges and Hannah Altehenger. Then, just before flying back to the UK, I had the pleasure of presenting a somewhat-updated draft at the Madison Metaethics Workshop. —Rachel Achs

The main event of my summer was Mental Disorder, Culpability, and Criminal Law, a two-day workshop held in Bergen, Norway in collaboration with Linda Gröning and Tova Bennet of DIMENSIONS. The workshop aimed to investigate the role of mental disorder as a factor relevant to criminal culpability, and was the result of months of collaborative work between our two projects.  To my great relief, it all came off without a hitch, due in large part to the incredible hard work of the DIMENSIONS team (in particular their research assistant Anne Noddeland, who had everything so immaculately organised at the venue that I was able to relax and enjoy the talks!). Putting together a workshop like this from inception to completion was an incredibly gratifying experience. A particular personal highlight for me was speaking on integrationist model, along with Tova, and  having a discussion with Christopher Slobogin (Vanderbilt), whose 2001 paper on the subject was the catalyst for much of my thinking about insanity.

Aside from planning my conference, over the summer I was approached to undertake some specific research into legal automatism for a KCL research project exploring states of “Wakeful Consciousness”—a task which required me to really get to grips with the literature on automatism and its relationship to voluntariness. The final thing of note is the an online workshop series focusing on criminal law that I have been developing with Peter Bartlett of the Mental Diversity Law Network. Our first set of workshops will concentrate on the status of mental condition defences in light of the UN CRPD, and the first session (featuring John Child of Birmingham and Nick, a service user with lived experience of the forensic system) is Wednesday 16 November at 6pm. This will be the first in an ongoing series—so expect more on this in future updates! —Claire Hogg

I spent most of this summer familiarising myself with the voluminous literature on genealogical debunking arguments, and writing draft material on that topic for my thesis. I also travelled to the remote Austrian village of Kirchberg am Wechsel for this year's Wittgenstein Summer School, led by John Hyman and Hans-Johann Glock. This event—five days spent reading and discussing Wittgenstein, slowly and carefully—proved to be one of the most enlightening and enjoyable philosophical gatherings I have ever had the privilege of attending. —Michael Thorne

The academic year 2021–22 proper ended with Alexander Greenberg's conference on Law, Knowledge, and Mind, but the summer did not leave me free (finally) to get back to some philosophical research. Instead, I continued throughout the most of these months to struggle with the seemingly unceasingly growing piles of administrative and other non-academic work, as the project approached its final year. Even this, however, did not prevent me from going back (for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic) to Japan, visiting some beautiful sites in Kyoto and Osaka, as well as meeting up with families and friends in Tokyo, Sendai, and other places. Then, no sooner than I had flown back in the UK just a week before the beginning of the new academic year, I was off again to Bergen, Norway, where, at the conference on mental disorder and culpability that Claire Hogg organised with Tova Bennet and Linda Gröning of the DIMENSIONS project, I commented on Nomy Arpaly's rumination on responsibility, depression, and laziness (topics of considerable personal relevance). —Yuuki Ohta

RoR's PI John Hyman responding to Alexander Greenberg, during his presentation on excuses at the Law, Knowledge and Mind conference (London, UK).


RoR's post-doc Claire Hogg with Tova Bennett (Bergen) and Christopher Slobogin (Vanderbilt), discussing the integrationist models of insanity, at the conference on Mental Disorder, Culpability, and Criminal Law (Bergen, Norway).

Past Updates