Relational Morality and the Criminal Law, Workshop • July 6–8, 2023 • Freiburg/Germany

Relational Morality and the Criminal Law

Workshop • July 6–8, 2023 • Freiburg/Germany

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law

The workshop will address the significance of second-personal/rela­tional conceptions of morality for criminal law and criminal proce­dure. Despite the vast importance that these conceptions have gained in contemporary ethics in recent years, their possible implica­tions for criminal law, especially in Germany, are still relatively unex­plored. One reason may be the peculiarities of (German) criminal law and its theory, according to which crimes are traditionally under­stood as wrongs that, normatively speaking, take place solely in the relationship between the offender and the stateWe be­lieve that second-personal or relational approaches in ethics, as developed by Stephen Darwall or Jay Wallace, chal­lenge this traditional understanding and can be a productive basis for normative theorizing in criminal law. In this workshop, we will bring together philosophers dealing with questions of second-personal/relational morality as well as legal philosophers and theorists from both the Anglo-American and German legal traditions in order to ex­plore the ex­tent to which a second-personal/relational understanding of morality can or should shape our under­stand­ing of criminal law and criminal procedure. Their presentations will address the theoretical foundations of criminal law, doctrinal questions of substantive criminal law, and the structure of criminal procedure.


Provisional Program

Thursday, 6 July 2023  
10:00–10:30Philipp-Alexander Hirsch / Erasmus Mayr
Welcome and Introduction
10:30–11:45R. Jay Wallace (Berkeley)
Morality and “the General Regulation of Behavior”
11:45–13:00 – lunch break –
13:00–14:15Armin Engländer (München)
The German Doctrine of the Protection of Legal Goods as the Task of Criminal Law. Critical Remarks on an Alleged Achievement of German Criminal Law Theory
14:15–15:30Leora Dahan Katz (Jerusalem)
Wrongs and Wrongings
15:30–16:00 – coffee break –
16:00–17:15Philipp-Alexander Hirsch (Freiburg)
Crimes as Status Violations. Relational Morality, Dignity, and the Criminal Law
Friday, 7 July 2023  
9:30–10:45Herlinde Pauer-Studer (Wien)
The Perpetrator‘s Will in Authoritarian and Liberal Criminal Law
10:45–11:00 – coffee break –
11:00–12:15Tatjana Hörnle (Freiburg)
The Impact of a Second-Person Viewpoint on Criminal Law Doctrine
12:15–14:00 – lunch break –
14:00–15:15Victor Tadros (Warwick)
Relational Consent to Sex and the Limits of the Law
15:15–16:30Gideon Yaffe (Yale)
Aggressive Action as Second-Personal Address
16:30–17:00 – coffee break –
17:00–18:15Erasmus Mayr (Erlangen)
Wronging, Personal Complaint, and the Criminal Law
Saturday, 8 July 2023  
9:30–10:45Antje Du Bois Pedain (Cambridge)
Relational Morality in the Public Domain
10:45–11:00 – coffee break –
11:00–12:15Stephen Darwall (Yale)
Criminal Law is to Private Law as Representative Authority is to Individual Authority
12:15–12:30Closing Remarks


About us

The workshop is organised by Dr. Dr. Philipp-Alexander Hirsch and Prof. Dr. Erasmus Mayr.

Erasmus Mayr holds the Chair of Practical Philosophy at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. His work focuses on the theory of action, fundamental questions of ethics and meta-ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law.

Philipp-Alexander Hirsch is Leader of the Independent Research Group “Criminal Law Theory” at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law in Freiburg. His research focuses on criminal law and criminal procedure, legal philosophy and legal theory, and the history and phi­los­o­phy of criminal law in the Age of Enlightenment.

The Max Planck Research Group “Criminal Law Theory” focuses on the analysis of substantive criminal law and criminal pro­cedure and the doctrine in these areas; the analysis centers on the underlying normative structures and prin­ci­ples in order to assess their coherence, justifiability, and persuasiveness. The aim is to draw on the fruits of this analysis to engage in normative theory-building that proposes solutions to problems in criminal law that go beyond interpreting the positive law.

Short Summary and Picture Gallery

The workshop, which took place at the beginning of July 2023 at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Se­cu­rity and Law in Freiburg i. Br., brought to light a variety of different viewpoints on whether and to what extent relational approaches in morality have a radiating effect on criminal law. Building in particular on the fundamental writings of Wallace and Darwall, the pros and cons of an integration of relational or second-personal points of view were discussed; differences in the respective legal systems were also elaborated and compared. The exchange between legal philos­o­phers and criminal lawyers led to stimulating discussions which will be reflected in a planned special volume in an inter­na­tional journal.

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