Archive of Events

Archive of Events

Location: Freiburg, Fürstenbergstr. 19

About the Nature and Value of Conceptual Legal Scholarship

Guest Lecture
The lecture pursues two goals. First, Christian Bumke aims to compare how German legal doctrine and a pluralistic approach, known as the “New Private Law Theory” in the USA, can be used to think about and work with the law. Bumke will argue that, while there are considerable differences between the two, they can be understood as two variants of the same general approach towards legal scholarship, which he calls “conceptual legal scholarship”. His second goal consists in developing a reflection on methodol­ogy. For this purpose, he examines the differences within con­cep­tual legal scholarship. He wishes to show that very different academic activities are pursued both within legal doctrine and New Private Law scholarship. Bumke will make a distinction between two different types of conceptual legal scholarship. On the one hand, there are approaches that aim to explain a certain legal phenomenon; on the other hand, one finds approaches that aim to understand the law’s normative content. He will argue that differentiating between the two perspectives is important because they respond to different expectations and have to conform to different standards. [more]

Sanktionen im Sozialrecht – Existenzminimum und Menschenwürde im Spannungsverhältnis zu Mitwirkungspflichten und fiskalischen Interessen

Guest Lecture

Why Outcomes Matter (And How They Do)

Guest Lecture
  • Date: Nov 17, 2021
  • Time: 06:15 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Dr. Antje du Bois-Pedain
  • Antje du Bois-Pedain is Professor of Criminal Law and Philosophy at the Faculty of Law and Director of the Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. She was trained as a lawyer in Germany, re­ceived her Dr. iur. from Humboldt University Berlin, and in the U.K. (Magister Juris, University of Oxford). She has been based at the University of Cambridge since 2001. One strand of her work addresses the philosophical founda­tions of state punishment and their significance for the application of law, and law reform. Here, recent collaborative work includes edited volumes on Criminal Law and the Authority of the State (2017), on Penal Censure: Engagements Within and Beyond Desert Theory (2019) and on Re-reading Beccaria: On the Contemporary Significance of a Penal Classic (forthcom­ing). Another major strand of her work is in criminal law theory and doctrine, often with a comparative or transnational di­mension. Here, she has recently written on participation in crime and on criminal-law causation, and is currently exploring outcome responsibility, as well as conceptions and functions of recklessness and negligence.
  • 2G rules/hybrid session: Please note that 2G rules will apply. In case we cannot ensure social distancing (1.5 m), you will also be required to wear a mask. You may choose to join via Zoom (details are provided below).
  • Location: Freiburg, Fürstenbergstr. 19
  • Room: Seminar room (F 113) | Guests are welcome!
  • Host: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law
  • Contact:
The problem of outcome responsibility, in criminal law, is the problem of providing a normative foundation for criminal-law practices that make outcomes relevant to criminal liability and sentencing – sometimes (as in the law of attempts) with relevant differences between intended and negligently-risked outcomes. My talk develops a conception of agency that can provide theoreti­cal underpinning for these practices. As a first step, I defend the widely accepted view that producing an outcome (either as an in­tended or as a negligently-unlucky one) makes a difference: so long as the outcome can be imputed to the agent, it qualifies what the agent is responsible for. The object of assessment (“what D has done”) changes from “X activity” (minus the outcome) to “X activity with outcome”. Potentially much more contentious is the second step in my argument: the claim that how the outcome matters for our responsibility is affected by the question whether the outcome is the product of our intentions or whether it is the product of risks we have negli­gently created. This analysis explains many contentious features of the criminal law. However, it puts pressure on the justification for outcome-dependent crimes of negligence as such. For how can, on the assumption that we have a much less tight connection to negligently-risked outcomes than to intended ones, the criminal law’s prac­tice of making the occurrence of the outcome the linchpin for most offences of criminal negligence, be defended? [more]

Lab Experiments – An Overlooked Tool in the Box of Criminology

Guest Lecture
Good fences make good neighbours. The “naturalistic fallacy” is a particularly solid fence. It not only claims that the normative disci­plines need not worry about facts. It would actually be a category error if they care. Although at its core the law is a normative disci­pline, it has not always been that hostile towards facts. But it used to have a rather loose attitude towards empirics. Often, any factual statement “that matters” has been accepted as a legitimate ele­ment of legal reasoning. A social scientist would likely disagree. A factual claim is not the same as empirical evidence, most im­portantly since correlation is not causation. Criminology defines itself as the social science concerned with crime and punishment. This invites a division of labour: to the extent that a normative conclusion in the area of criminal law rests on an empirical claim, it is for criminology to deliver the evidence. Yet what counts as evidence? To a relevant degree, this is not only a question of epistemology. It also is a matter of disciplinary culture. Historically, criminology defines itself as applied sociology. This historical root is a productive one. But it has led the discipline to largely ignore an im­portant source of evidence: experiments under the controlled conditions of the lab. Interestingly, in empirical legal studies, this method is much more established than in criminology, despite the fact that empirical legal studies are much more recent. The talk will explain why lab experiments could be helpful for criminology, and accordingly for the empirical grounding of criminal law, and will illustrate the power with experiments on crime and punishment. [more]
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