Social and Legal Philosophy
Colloquium Series 2014
Reasonableness and the Reasonable Person Standard
in Criminal Law
Professor Marcia Baron
Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of St. Andrews
Wednesday 5th March 2014, 4-7pm
About this Colloquium
The notions of the reasonable and of the reasonable person are often attacked as decidedly not helpful to criminal law and criminal law theory (and often the claim is made with respect not just to criminal law, but law in general). I try to show that the reasonable has a great deal more going for it, for purposes of criminal law, than is often thought. Elsewhere I try to understand what the basis for the misgivings is. In this paper, I take a step back from the issues in law and criminal law theory and examine the everyday notion of reasonableness, and more specifically to reasonableness understood as a quality we attribute to (some but not all) persons. By giving it a close look we’ll be in a better position to reflect on the suitability (or lack thereof) of reasonableness for purposes to which it is put to use in the criminal law, e.g., the heat of passion defense and (the culpability level of) negligence.
Biography of the speaker
Marcia Baron currently Rudy Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University at Bloomington, will be joining the University of St. Andrews as Professor of Moral Philosophy, part-time from summer 2012, and full-time from January 2014.
Marcia Baron's research focuses on moral philosophy, moral psychology, and philosophy of law (more specifically, philosophical issues in criminal law). Topics she has written on include impartiality in ethics, and the apparent conflicts between loyalty, patriotism, friendship and love, and impartiality; manipulativeness; self-defense; the "heat of passion" defense; mens rea issues, including whether negligence should be considered a sufficient mens rea, and more broadly, to what standards of self-control and reasonableness people should be held (for the purposes of criminal law); rape and sexual consent; justifications and excuses; the moral significance of appearances; the value of acting from duty (and just how acting from duty should be understand); and virtue ethics. She is interested in the history of ethics, and has written extensively on Kant's ethics and less extensively on Hume's; she also has an interest in liberalism and political philosophy more generally. She is currently working on a book on self-defense and the reasonable belief requirement.
When & Where
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