News

  1. YEAR
  2. 2019
  3. 2018
  4. 2017
  5. 2016
  6. 2015
  7. 2014
  8. 2013
  9. 2012
  10. 2011
  11. 2010
  12. 2009
  • « Back
    11.18.15 Professor Adam Kolber Article a Top SSRN Download For Criminal Law & Procedure
    photo of a professor

    An article by Professor Adam Kolber recently placed among the top 10 downloads of Criminal Law and Procedure papers on SSRN, the world’s top open-access repository for scholarly research. “Free Will as a Matter of Law” will appear in Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neuroscience in 2016.

    The abstract reads: Philosophers have long debated questions about free will, but their analyses obviously do not have the force of law. Whatever you think about free will, the law has its own perspective. Since cases and statutes say little directly on point, we turn… to the intentions of those with authority to create law. The law’s crafters likely believed that we have souls that make choices unconstrained by the laws of physics. Such “soul-based libertarianism” conflicts with the modern scientific view that billions of particles have interacted since the beginning of time to make us take the precise actions we do in the precise circumstances we find ourselves. Since the law’s crafters aimed to punish evil-doing souls, they may never have intended to punish mechanisms like ourselves. Scholars such as Stephen Morse and Paul Litton… believe both moral and legal responsibility are consistent with mechanistic decision-making. But their interpretations of the law are largely grounded in controversial philosophical claims and should be distinguished from interpretations grounded in legal authority.

    Kolber argues that a plausible case can be made that punishment policies are inconsistent with modern science and require updating.

    Kolber also recently posted “The Bumpiness of Criminal Law” (Alabama Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN.

    Professor Kolber writes and teaches in the areas of health law, bioethics, criminal law, and neurolaw and is affiliated with the Law School’s Center for Health, Science, and Public Policy and the Center for Law, Language & Cognition. He has been a visiting fellow at Princeton University's Center for Human Values and at NYU Law School's Center for Research in Crime and Justice. He began his academic career on the faculty of the University of San Diego School of Law. Before that, he clerked for the Honorable Chester J. Straub of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced law with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. He graduated Order of the Coif from Stanford Law School, where he was an associate editor of the Stanford Law Review. Prior to law school, he was a business ethics consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.