NOWAR

Derk Pereboom, keynote of 2015 NOWAR, with Randy Clarke looking on as chair.

NOWAR is a biennial workshop, sponsored by the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, featuring the presentation of sophisticated original research on issues roughly captured under the label “agency and responsibility.” This general area involves investigation of such questions as: What does it mean to be an agent? How (if at all) does the nature of personhood and personal identity across time bear on questions of agency? What is the nature of, and relation between, moral and criminal responsibility? What is the relation between responsibility and the metaphysical issues of determinism and free will? What do various psychological disorders (autism, psychopathy, cognitive disabilities) tell us about agency and responsibility? What is involved in the development of moral agency? What is the will, willpower, and weakness (or strength) of will? What do the results from neuroscience imply (if anything) for our questions about agency and responsibility? What is the nature of autonomy and how is it related to agency and responsibility?

Work in agency and responsibility, while more or less having a home base in the world of moral philosophy, draws from a host of cross-disciplinary sources, including moral psychology, psychology proper (experimental, developmental, etc.), philosophy of psychology, philosophy of law, legal theory, metaphysics, neuroscience, neuroethics, political philosophy, and more. It is unified by its focus on who we are as deliberators and (inter)actors, embodied practical agents negotiating (sometimes unsuccessfully) a world of moral and legal norms.

The Oxford University Press series Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility (edited by me) draws on presentations from this workshop.


THE NEXT SCHEDULED WORKSHOP IS NOVEMBER 14-16, 2019 at the Aloft Hotel, in downtown New Orleans. Confirmed keynote speakers are Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA), Richard Moran (Harvard), and Candace Vogler (Chicago). There will be room for 7 additional papers to be presented, culled from vetted abstracts. A call for abstracts for the 2019 workshop was sent out in November 2018, and they are due March 15, 2019. For more information, see the Murphy Institute website, PEA Soup, or this page.