Many of us have missed working in the British Library.


It seems that Zoom will be with us even after the pandemic, in the form of hybrid meetings.

October–December 2021

What a delight it has been to spend time with the members of the Roots of Responsibility project as I settle into my new home in Oxford! I've already learned so much from novel experiences this fall, both from (in person!) meetings in London to discuss Pamela Hieronymi's recent book and from dining at High Table in The Queen's College. In the autumn term, I also did a round of revisions on a paper “Blame's Commitment to Its Own Fittingness,” which is now forthcoming in an edited volume, Fittingness, to be published by Oxford University Press. I began work on my first-co authored paper, “It Isn't Always Fitting to Value Valuable Things” which my friend, Oded Na'aman, and I will present our first draft of at a couple of conferences this spring. And I had a great deal of fun participating in the workshop Emotions in Legal Theory hosted by the Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy, where I commented on an excellent paper by Christopher Bennett. —Rachel Achs

This Autumn I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Guilty Minds Lab to speak at the annual conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology. As part of a symposium on experimental philosophy of law, I discussed the potential for an integrated approach to mental condition-based exculpation as an alternative to the current insanity model. I was also kindly invited to introduce my research at UCL’s departmental symposium, where I was able to meet many of the department’s talented graduate students. John Child and I are in the process of co-authoring a chapter for an upcoming Festschrift for Professor Bob Sullivan, to be published in Spring 2022. In it, we lay out an overlooked idiosyncrasy of the current insanity defence, and make some suggestions for reform. We were pleased to be invited to discuss our chapter at the KCL Michaelmas hearings, which led to a great discussion and some very valuable feedback! It’s been lovely to get to know everyone on the project, and I have really enjoyed our weekly sessions – it’s been good to get back into reading pure philosophy after such a long diversion to law! —Claire Hogg

I began my PhD in Philosophy at UCL, and joined the project, in Autumn 2021. My work in this first term mainly consisted of developing my thesis plan and closely reading some of my primary texts, including Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and various writings of P. F. Strawson. I was therefore especially pleased to focus, in the Roots of Responsibility discussion group, on Pamela Hieronymi’s new book on Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’. During this term I also gained my first experience as a teaching assistant, designing and leading an undergraduate study skills seminar. —Michael Thorne 

This Autumn was a particularly busy term, I think made all the busier by having to relearn doing everything off-line and in real life again. It was particularly pleasing to be teaching in person again; the alternative just isn’t the same. I was honoured to have been invited to present my paper on denying tort defences to the Obligations Discussion Group in Oxford where I received some excellent suggestions. Reviving some past research of mine I also wrote a chapter on ‘Republican Freedom’ for an undergraduate philosophy textbook —David Campbell 

Is it possible today, I wondered as I revisted (for an umpteenth time) Strawson's ‘Freedom and Resentment’, to publish a paper in philosophy this far and deeply ramifying and seemingly inexhaustibly suggestive, if it meant writing in a manner this precious, confident, informal, and —at times tantalisingly but at others frustratingly—elusive? Another issue, not entirely unrelated to this (though the connection is difficult to articulate), that has been occupying my mind, as I continued to try to work on a long-overdue review of a collection of essays on Wittgenstein, is the place and the significance of the personal voice in philosophy. I go on banging my head against the wall—the only head I have got with which to bang against the wall (cf. this remark of Wittgenstein’s). —Yuuki Ohta



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