Susan Dimock

Department of Philosophy

Professor
Editor-in-chief, Dialogue Canadian Philosophical Review
Associate Edtior, Criminal Law and Philosophy
Associate Editor in charge of special editions, Journal of Value Inquiry

Office: McLaughlin College, 227
Phone: (416) 736-2100 Ext: 77535
Emaildimock@yorku.ca
Primary websitewww.yorku.ca/dimock/
Secondary websitepapers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1038111

The coercive power of the state is seen nowhere as forcefully as in its criminal law. How a state exercises that power has profound implications for individuals and communities and on its claim to be a free society. I develop the principles that should guide lawmakers when making public policy for criminal justice.

From Cancon 2014 http://gkcancon.com/the-speakers/:

Dr. Dimock earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Dalhousie University, and joined the Faculty at York University in 1991. During her time at York, she has been an active member of the collegium and has participated in many aspects of university governance. She has been the Chair of the University Senate, Chair of Faculty Council, Master of McLaughlin College, Director of the York Centre for Practical Ethics, President of the York University Faculty Association, and a member of the hiring committees for both the President and the Provost of York.

Dr. Dimock’s research interests span topics in ethical theory and practical ethics, including political and public sector ethics, political philosophy and the philosophy of law. Most recently, she has been undertaking research on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. Developing and employing principles that justify the use of criminal law, and articulating the limits of its legitimate scope, is needed, she thinks, because the modern Western world has seen a recent explosion of criminalization, a consequence of which is that ever more conduct is subject to criminal restrictions and is hence punishable if done. She studies this phenomenon of over-criminalization within the framework of a broader political conception of a just society.

In addition to being an active researcher, and author of numerous books and scholarly articles, Dr. Dimock teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in moral, political and legal philosophy. She is a winner of York’s most prestigious teaching award—the President’s University-Wide Teaching Award—and has developed a range of pedagogical materials for teaching Philosophy. Her passion for and wide mastery of topics in value theory, her wit and her extraordinary presentation skills combine to make her a sought-after speaker, and she participates in a variety of scholarly workshops and conferences throughout the world.

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Criminal law and personal liberty are natural enemies. Whenever a society uses criminal law to guide the conduct of its members, it threatens them with punishment and other harms that would normally be serious rights violation. States take property from citizens, put restrictions on their freedom of movement and association, and sometimes even put them in prison. A state would not normally be allowed to do any of these things to its citizens but somehow when it does them as ‘punishment’ for crimes, it’s okay. I ask when is it really okay. What should a free society use its criminal law to prohibit or require? Together with a group on internationally renowned scholars, I struggle with these difficult questions.

Tyrannical governments the world over criminalize political protest, labour unionization, worship of the ‘wrong’ gods, or love of the ‘wrong’ people. Criminal law can, then, be a power destructive of freedom and a tool of oppression. What makes some uses of criminal law legitimate and what makes these profoundly unjust? Criminal law theorists work to identify the principles that distinguish good from bad uses of this awesome power of governments. My interest in criminal law theory is one instance of a broader concern with legitimate government, good public policy, and just institutions. That interest also manifests itself in work I have done with YUFA (York University Faculty Association), the University Senate, and community groups.

I bring these interests into the classroom, teaching courses in ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. I have the privilege of teaching at every level – from large undergraduate courses to intimate graduate seminars. My passion for teaching extends to the development of a wide range of teaching materials, including a number of textbooks from whom thousands of students in Canada and the United States have been taught. I have been gratified by the positive responses I have had to my teaching from many students, both privately communicated and as revealed in my various course evaluations. I am honoured to be a University-wide Teaching Award winner.

Area of Specialization

Criminal law and ethics

Degrees

Ph.D., Philosophy, Dalhousie University
M.A., Philosophy, York University
B.A., Philosophy, History, University of New Brunswick

Professional Leadership

Chair of Senate, York University, July 2010 - December 2011
Master of McLaughlin College, 2009 - 2011
Chair of the Faculty of Arts Council, 2007 - 2008
Director of the York Centre for Practical Ethics, 2008 - 2009
President of the York University Faculty Association, 2002 - 2004

Research Interests

Crime , Ethics , Philosophy of Law, Political Philosophy, Early Modern History of Philosophy

All Publications

Books

Ethics and the Public Service: Trust, Integrity and Democracy, with Mohamad Al-Hakim, Garrett MacSweeney, Anthony Antonacci and Alessandro Manduca-Barone (Toronto: Nelson Canada; 2012)

Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law, edited by Susan Dimock (N.Y.: Longman Publishers, 2006.)

Applied Ethics: Reflective Moral Reasoning, co-edited with Christopher Tucker. (Toronto: Thomson/Nelson, 2004)

Principles of Ethics 100 Years After Principia Ethica, edited by Susan Dimock. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 37: 3 (November 2003).

Classic Readings and Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law, edited by Susan Dimock (Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2001).

Liberalism, co-edited with Jan Narveson, special edition of The Journal of Value Inquiry 34: 2&3 (2000); also published in book form by Kluwer Academic Publishers (Netherlands, 2000).

Book Chapters

“David Hume: Practical Rationality Inflated” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 27 pages; 10,952 words.

“David Hume: Practical Rationality Deflated” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 25 pages; 9,555 words.

“John Locke: Property, Authority, Consent” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 21 pages; 9,372 words.

“John Locke: Natural Rights and the Limits of Government” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 20 pages; 8,710 words.

“Thomas Hobbes: Contractarianism” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 24 pages; 10,525 words.

“Thomas Hobbes: Ethical Egoism” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 28 pages; 9,931 words.

“Contractarian Criminal Law Theory and Mala Prohibita Offences,” in R.A. Duff, Lindsay Farmer, S.E. Marshall, Massimo Renzo and Victor Tadros, eds., (Oxford University Press, 2014): 151-181.

“Defences at Criminal Law,” in Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition, Ruth Chadwick, ed., (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) Vol. 1: 745-753.

“Juvenile Crime,” in ,Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition. Ruth Chadwick, ed., (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) Vol. 2: 818-826. This is a substantially revised version of my 1998 paper, with less than half the content being the same.

“Crime and Society,” in Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition. Ruth Chadwick, ed., (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) Vol. 1: 683-690. This is a substantially revised version of my 1998 paper, with less than half the content being the same.

“Parliamentary Ethics” in Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition. Ruth Chadwick, ed. (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) : Vol. 3: 338-348.

“Please Drink Responsibly: Can the Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders be Justified by the Tracing Principle?” in Compatibilist Responsibility: Beyond Free Will and Determinism, Nicole A. Vincent, Ibo van de Poel and Jeroen van den Hoven, eds. (Netherlands: Springer Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy, 2011) : 83-100.

“The Value of Values: The Importance of Autonomy in Contractarian Reasoning,” in Liberty, Games and Contracts, ed. Malcolm Murray (Aldershot UK.: Ashgate, 2007): 81-101.

“Law and Economics: Law as Efficiency,” Classic Readings and Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2001): 117-138 and in Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2006).

“The Natural Law Theory of St. Thomas Aquinas,” The Philosophy of Law 6th edition, eds. Joel Feinberg and Jules Coleman (Wadsworth Press, 2000): 19-32. Anthologised in Beckwick, ed., Do the Right Thing (Wadsworth Press, 2001). A revised version of the paper is also included in my Classic Readings and Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2001): 4-32 and in my Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2006).

“Affirmative Action and Employment Equity in Canada,” co-authored with Christopher Tucker, Ethical Issues in Business; Inquiries, Cases and Readings, ed. Peg Tittle (Broadview Press, 2000): 236-253. Reprinted in Applied Ethics: Reflective Moral Reasoning (2004): 110-132.

“Juvenile Crime,” The Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics Vol. 3, ed. Ruth Chadwick (Academic Press, 1998): 23-29.

“Crime and Society,” The Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics Vol.1, ed. Ruth Chadwick (Academic Press, 1998): 679-691.

“Personal Autonomy, Freedom of Action and Coercion,” A Question of Values: New Canadian Perspectives on Ethics and Political Philosophy, eds. Samantha Brennan, Tracy Issacs and Michael Milde (Value Inquiry Book Series; Rodopi Press, 1997): 65-86.

Journal Articles

“The Malum prohibitum—Malum in se Distinction and the Wrongfulness Constraint on Criminalization,” Dialogue: The Canadian Philosophical Review 55:1 (2016): 1-32.

“Criminalizing Dangerousness: How to Preventively Detain Dangerous Offenders,” Criminal Law and Philosophy (September 2015), Volume 9, Issue 3, pp. 537-560.

“Actio Libera in Causa,” Criminal Law and Philosophy 7:3 (October 2013): 549-569.

“Intoxication and the Act/Control/Agency Requirement,” Criminal Law and Philosophy 6:2 (September 2012): 341-362.

“Hate as an Aggravating Factor in Sentencing,” New Criminal Law Review 15:4 (Fall 2012): 572-611.

“What Are Intoxicated Offenders Responsible For? The ‘Intoxication Defence’ Re-examined,” Criminal Law and Philosophy 5:1 (January 2011): 1-20.

“The Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders” The Journal of Value Inquiry 43:3 (October 2009): 339-368.

“Why All Feminists Should be Contractarians,” Dialogue XLVII (December 2008): 273-90.

“Reasonable Women in the Law,” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11:2 (June 2008): 153-175. This will also be published in book form: Reasonableness, ed. Shaun P. Young (Routledge, 2008).

“Two Virtues of Contractarianism,” The Journal of Value Inquiry, 37: 3 (November 2003): 395-414

“Liberal Neutrality,” Liberalism, eds., Susan Dimock and Jan Narveson (Journal of Value Inquiry 34: 2, 2000): 189-206

“Defending Non-Tuism,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29:2 (June 1999): 251-274.

“Retributivism and Trust,” Law and Philosophy 16:1 (1997): 37-62.

“Calling All Knaves: Hume on Moral Motivation,” Eidos 10:2 (December 1992): 179-97. Reprinted in a special 25th anniversary edition of the journal in 2004.

“Locke, Fordyce and Rousseau: On Liberty,” Early Modern Philosophy II (Delmar, Caravan Books, 1988): 75-84.

Conference Proceedings

“Hume on Justice: A Non-Contractarian Interpretation,” Facets of the Eighteenth Century: Descriptive, Social and Normative Discourse, ed. Roland Bonnel (Captus University Publications, 1991): 59-78.

Conference Papers

Participant (by invitation only) at The Legitimate Ambit of Domestic and International Criminalization Conference, co-hosted by Osgoode Law School and the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, April 1-3, 2016. I presented a response to Gabriel S. Mendlow’s “The Puzzle of Criminalization.

Reply to Mathieu Docuet: “Do We Always Regret Weakness of Will?”, Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, June 5, 2013 (hereafter CPA).

Participant (by invitation only) at the Collateral Sanctions on Ex-Offenders Conference, hosted by the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, March 1-2, 2013. More than 1.5 million people in the United States completed terms of punishment in 2010. We speak of these people as having been held responsible for their crimes, as having paid their debts to society. But in practice, they continue to be subject to a variety of restrictive policies, policies that restrict their access to public housing, some forms of employment, public assistance, the vote, and many other goods. Although there is a vast literature addressing questions surrounding the justification of punishment (whether and when it’s justified, why, how much, by whom, etc.), the underlying normative questions raised by collateral sanctions on ex-offenders have received much less attention. I presented a response to Zachary Hoskins’ “Reconsidering Collateral Sanctions as Punishments.”

“Criminalizing Dangerousness: How to Preventively Detain Dangerous Offenders,” CS-IVR Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, June 1, 2013 (hereafter CS-IVR).

Reconciling Mala Prohibita Offenses with the Wrongfulness Constraint on Criminalization.” Committee Session on Mala Prohibita and the Reach of the Criminal Law at the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division 110th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, December 28, 2013. Also presented to the Philosophy Department Speakers’ Series, University of Toronto, October 2, 2014

“Membership in the Social Contract”, Canadian Association for Reductionist Philosophy (hereafter CARP) Annual Meeting, Agerola Italy, May 3, 2012.

“Intoxication and the Act/Control/Agency Requirement in Criminal Law”, Canadian Section of the International Society for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy Annual Meeting, Waterloo ON, May 26, 2012 (hereafter CS-IVR).

Response to Arthur Yates, “Fooles and the Righteous in Hobbes’s Leviathan”, Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, Waterloo ON, May 27-30, 2012. (hereafter CPA)

Participant (by invitation only) at the Preventive Justice Workshop, hosted by the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, September 21-22, 2012. I was one of seven principal speakers and presented a paper titled “Preventive detention of Dangerous Offenders: Risk, Crime and Prevention”.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Criminalizing & Criminalized States Conference, co-hosted by Osgoode Law School and the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, November 9-10, 2012. This conference offered a 21st-century reassessment of the domestic and international interfaces between the state and criminal law. I presented a response to Douglas Husak’s “State Authority to Punish Crime: A Problem Easily Solved.

“A Contractarian Theory of Criminal Law”, The Criminalization Project Conference, Stirling Scotland, September 7, 2011. *R

“Enhanced Sentences for Hate Crimes”, co-author Mohamad Al-Hakim, The Criminalization Project Conference, Stirling Scotland, September 9, 2011. *R

Participant (by invitation only) at the Actio Libera in Causa Workshop hosted by the Law and Philosophy Institute, University of Pennsylvania Law School, December 8-9, 2011. I presented a principal paper titled “Actio Libera in Causa and Intoxication”. One part of that paper has appeared as “Intoxication and the Act/Control/Agency Requirement” Criminal Law and Philosophy 6:2 (2012): 341-362. Another is appearing in a special issue of the same journal on the topic of the Actio Libera in Causa principle flowing from that Workshop.

Reply to Benjamin Berger, “Mental Disorder and the Instability of Criminal Law”. Rethinking Criminal Law Theory. Nathanson Centre and Osgoode Hall Law School. Toronto ON. September 10-12, 2010.

Reply to Annalise Acord, “Viewing the Insanity Defense through the Lens of the Classics”. Nathanson Centre and Osgoode Hall Law School. Toronto ON. September 10-12, 2010.

Reply to Christine Sypnowich, “Criminalizing the Incorrect: Human Rights Commissions and the Rule of Law”. Criminalization Conference, Queen’s University and Osgoode Hall Law School. Queen’s University, Kingston ON. September 7-8, 2010.

“The Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders” Delft Technical University International Conference on Moral Responsibility: Neuroscience, Organization and Engineering, Netherlands, August 25, 2009. *R

Reply to Matthew Murphy, Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting [hereafter CPA] Ottawa, May 2009.

“The Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders” Canadian Section of the International Society for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy Annual Meeting [hereafter CS-IVR], Ottawa, June 2009.

Presenter, “The Value of Ethics Codes in Promoting Academic Honesty in Research” conference on Blowing the Whistle - Rights, Responsibilities and Research Integrity” York University, May 2009.

Respondent to Victor Tadros, University of Warwick, on “Crime and the Distribution of Security” in Legal Philosophy Between State and Transnationalism Seminar Series, sponsor by the Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, Osgoode Hall Law School. February 2009.

“Preferences and Personal Good,” Canadian Association of Reductionist Philosophy [hereafter CARP] Annual Conference, Stroud, ON (November 2007). Also presented to the Philosophy Department Colloquia Series, York University, November 2007.

“Reasonable Women in the Law,” CS-IVR, York University (June 2006).

Commentary on John K. Davis, “Normative Judgments and Personal Traits of the Judge,” Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting [hereafter CPA], York University (May 2006)

“Baselines,” CARP Annual Conference, Stroud, ON (October 2005).

“Why All Feminists Should be Contractarians,” CS-IVR, Winnipeg MB (June 2004).

“Freedom of Commercial Expression,” CPA, Winnipeg MB (May 2004).

“Personal and Moral Good,” CARP Annual Conference, Waterloo ON (October 2003).

“The Intoxication Defence in Canadian Criminal Law”, Ontario Philosophical Society Annual Meeting [hereafter OPS] Waterloo ON (November 2002). *R Also read at the Department of Philosophy, University of Guelph, in November 2002.

“Three Virtues of Contractarianism”, CARP Annual Conference (November 2002).

“Threats to Ethics in Research”, Conference on Research Ethics, York University, November 2002.

“Coercion in the State of Nature”, CARP Annual Conference (October 2001).

“A Common Criticism of Instrumental Rationality: An Unrecognized Implication”, CPA, Quebec City (May 2001). *R

“Law and Economics”, CS-IVR, Quebec City (May 2001).

“Affirmative Action in the Universities”, Atlantic Region Philosophical Association Annual Meetings, Halifax NS (October 2000). *R

“Internalism, Naturalism and Contractarianism”, Visiting Speakers Series, University of Lethbridge (March 2000); also presented to the CARP, October 2000.

Reply to Jason Kawall, “Moral Realism”, CPA, Edmonton Alberta (May 2000).

Reply to Rob Gildert, “Deriving Restorative Justice from Jean Hampton’s Retributivism”, OPS, Guelph (October 1999).

Reply to Rich Campbell, “Feminist Contractarianism”, CPA, Ottawa (May 1998).

“Liberalism, Trust and the Law”, Western Canadian Philosophical Association Meetings [hereafter WCPA], Winnipeg (October 1997). *R

“Defending Non-tuism”, CPA, Newfoundland (June 1997); An earlier version was presented to the CARP Conference on the Assumption of Non-tuism in Contemporary Moral and Political Philosophy, University of Waterloo (December 1996). *R

Reply to Sheldon Wein, “Towards the Entrepreneurial Welfare State”, CPA, Newfoundland (June 1997).

Reply to Anita Superson, “Internalism and Persuasion”, CPA, Montreal (June 1995).

Reply to Malcolm Murray, “Occurrent Contractarianism”, CPA, Montreal (June 1995).

“Internalism and the Moral ‘Ought’”, co-authored with Peter Schotch, Society for Exact Philosophy Meetings [hereafter SEP], Layfette LA (May 1995).

“Retributivism and Trust”, Conference on Plurality and Conflict, University of Western Ontario (January 1995); Revised version presented at the OPS and WCPA (October 1995). Latter *R

“Natural Rights and the State of Nature”, co-authored with Mike Sugarman, OPS, York University (November 1994). *R

“Why IVF Should be Banned”, OPS, York University (November 1994). *R

“Personal Autonomy and Freedom of Action”, CPA, Calgary (June 1994). *R

“Elements of Goal Theory”, co-authored with Peter Schotch, SEP, Austin TX (May 1994).

“Autonomy, Freedom of Action and Coercion”, A Question of Values Conference, University of Western Ontario (February 1994).

“Liberty, Rights, and the State of Nature”, OPS, Waterloo (October 1993). *R

Reply to David Checkland, “On the Redundancy of Psychological Autonomy”, CPA, Ottawa, 1993.

Reply to Michael Stingl, “Autonomy and Feminist Ethics”, CPA, Charlottetown (June 1992).

“Personal Autonomy, Self-Respect, and Weakness of Will”, WCPA, Vancouver (October 1991). *R

“Hume on Justice: A Non-Contractarian Interpretation”, Hume Society Conference, Canberra Australia (July 1990). *R

“Dworkin’s Conventionalist Judge: A Straw Man?”, CPA, Vancouver (May 1990). *R

“The Value of Autonomy”, Atlantic Region Philosophical Association Meetings, Sydney, NS (October 1989). *R

“A Defence of Natural Rights”, CPA, Quebec City (May 1989). *R

“Locke, Fordyce and Rousseau: On Liberty”, Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, Ontario (1986). *R

Book Reviews

John Deigh and David Dolinko, eds., Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Criminal Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books, 2013. http://clcjbooks.rutgers.edu/books/oxford_handbook_of_philosophy_of_criminal_law.html.

G.R. Sullivan and Ian Dennis, eds., Seeking Security. Pre-Empting the Commission of Criminal Harms, Dialogue 51(4) (December 2013): 801-803.

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Ethicists, trans., intro. and commentary by Richard Bett, Review of Metaphysics (Fall 1998).

Michael P. Zuckert, Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, Dalhousie Review 75:1 (Spring 1995): 114-118.

Georgia Warnke, Justice and Interpretation, Arachne 2:1 (1995): 221-223.

Donald Livingston and Marie Martin, eds., Hume as Philosopher of Society, Politics and History, Canadian Philosophical Reviews XII:2 (April 1992).

Stephen Greenblatt, Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture, Queen’s Quarterly Book Review 99:1 (Spring 1992): 181-183.

Leo Damrosch, Fictions of Reality in the Age of Hume and Johnson, Dalhousie Review 69:2 (Summer 1989): 295-298.

Conferences

Should Homelessness be Recognized as Grounds for Protection under Hate Crime Legislation? The Politics of Hate: Community, Societal and Global Responses. Annual Conference of the International Network for Hate Studies and the Hate and Hostility Working Group, University of Limerick, Ireland, May 24-26, 2016.

Reconsidering Intoxication Law (R. v. Tatton), Canadian Section of the International Society for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy Annual Meeting, Ottawa, Ontario, May 30 2015 (hereafter CS-IVR).

Preference, Autonomy, and Wellbeing. Annual Conference of the Center for Ethics, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel, July 15-17, 2015.

Dialogue between Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Susan Dimock, Peace and the Environment: A Symposium Exploring the Legacy and Insights of Six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Simon Fraser University, BC, February 6 & 7, 2014.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority Workshop, hosted by the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, April 19-20, 2013.

Participant (by invitation only) at The Ethics of Secrecy and the Rule of Law Workshop, hosted by the Institute for Law and Philosophy at the Pennsylvania Law School, May 18-19, 2012.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Inaugural Conference: Rethinking Criminal Justice, hosted by the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, November 11-12, 2011. The conference brought together local, national, and internationally prominent scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers to discuss the current state of the criminal justice system, to identify the most pressing topics at hand, and to help refine the Institute’s work going forward.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Human Dignity and the Criminal Law, hosted by the University of Minnesota Law School, April 7-8, 2011. The conference brought together local, national, and internationally prominent scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers to discuss the extent to which criminal law must treat its addressees as agents possessing dignity and how dignity shapes a range of substantive crimes.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Roundtable on Judicial Ethics, hosted by the York Centre for Practical Ethics, York University, October 26-28, 2007. I was co-organiser and co-host of a three day workshop hosted for federally-appointed judges in Canada. In this Chatham House workshop, we reviewed the Ethical Principles for Judges (which applies to all federally-appointed judges in Canada) on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its adoption.

Panellist discussing the work of Jan Narveson, CPA, St, Catherine’s (May 1996).

Approach To Teaching

I love teaching. I actually think it is one of the great benefits of my position as a professor that I regularly get to teach students at all levels. The areas of expertise in which I teach are ethics and moral philosophy, philosophy of law and political philosophy. Given my subject matter, my teaching must be both traditional in some ways and radical in others. Inclining toward tradition is the discipline of philosophy itself. Philosophical instruction depends upon the development and assessment of arguments, and developing the critical skills necessary to distinguish good arguments from bad. Because so much of philosophy proceeds by argument, expressed in canonical texts, students simply must read to learn philosophy. But the subject matter I teach is, in another sense, not entirely new to students, because it is often concerned with issues about which students have very firm pre-theoretical opinions: morality, justice, fairness, personal autonomy, rights, law, punishment, responsibility, and personal wellbeing. Whether on controversial moral issues such as abortion or war, cloning or use of animals for cosmetics testing; on political issues such as same-sex marriage or proroguing Parliament, foreign humanitarian intervention or selling water; on legal issues such as the death penalty or libel laws, students often have views. My job then is much more radical. First, I have to disrupt their settled opinions, encouraging them to think critically about their own deeply held values. But this must be done in a way that both respects the diversity of moral opinion and does not result in a parallelizing moral relativism or subjectivism. Right and wrong are not just in the eye of the beholder and some moral views are more defensible than others. Giving students the tools with which to critically assess competing moral views is absolutely vital. But it is also frightening, because to embrace the very exercise requires acknowledgment that one’s own normative views are fallible.

I also have the privilege of working with graduate students at York. I have supervised a number of M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertations, as well as serving as a member of many other doctoral committees. I have taught a number of graduate seminars. When I teach graduate courses, I make it clear that my goal is to have students produce publishable work from the course. I have had many instances of success in this regard, with students producing papers that have been accepted in high quality, referred journals and well-placed conferences. I try, in teaching graduate students, to be both inspirational and aspirational and they often rise to the challenge. They, at least, appreciate the confidence that my attitude and expectations express. Needless to say, this approach often involves working with my students long after a course is finished, as they further refine their projects and expand their knowledge of the surrounding literatures and debates.

I work with graduate students outside the class in mentoring roles as well. I give talks, and discuss individually, such matters as how to develop a c.v., how to document teaching, how to publish, how to determine the best journal for a given paper, etc. I also read and provide advice on grant and scholarship applications. I believe part of a Ph.D. program should be focused on teaching students how to teach, and so spend a considerable amount of time mentoring students with respect to pedagogy. I encourage students to take advantage of the wealth of pedagogical resources we have on campus. I make myself available to visit tutorials and provide written feedback. I speak often with my TAs about course material, and invite them to participate in developing methods of assessment in our courses.

Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/PHIL2050 6.0  Philosophy of Law LECT  


The coercive power of the state is seen nowhere as forcefully as in its criminal law. How a state exercises that power has profound implications for individuals and communities and on its claim to be a free society. I develop the principles that should guide lawmakers when making public policy for criminal justice.

From Cancon 2014 http://gkcancon.com/the-speakers/:

Dr. Dimock earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Dalhousie University, and joined the Faculty at York University in 1991. During her time at York, she has been an active member of the collegium and has participated in many aspects of university governance. She has been the Chair of the University Senate, Chair of Faculty Council, Master of McLaughlin College, Director of the York Centre for Practical Ethics, President of the York University Faculty Association, and a member of the hiring committees for both the President and the Provost of York.

Dr. Dimock’s research interests span topics in ethical theory and practical ethics, including political and public sector ethics, political philosophy and the philosophy of law. Most recently, she has been undertaking research on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. Developing and employing principles that justify the use of criminal law, and articulating the limits of its legitimate scope, is needed, she thinks, because the modern Western world has seen a recent explosion of criminalization, a consequence of which is that ever more conduct is subject to criminal restrictions and is hence punishable if done. She studies this phenomenon of over-criminalization within the framework of a broader political conception of a just society.

In addition to being an active researcher, and author of numerous books and scholarly articles, Dr. Dimock teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in moral, political and legal philosophy. She is a winner of York’s most prestigious teaching award—the President’s University-Wide Teaching Award—and has developed a range of pedagogical materials for teaching Philosophy. Her passion for and wide mastery of topics in value theory, her wit and her extraordinary presentation skills combine to make her a sought-after speaker, and she participates in a variety of scholarly workshops and conferences throughout the world.


Criminal law and personal liberty are natural enemies. Whenever a society uses criminal law to guide the conduct of its members, it threatens them with punishment and other harms that would normally be serious rights violation. States take property from citizens, put restrictions on their freedom of movement and association, and sometimes even put them in prison. A state would not normally be allowed to do any of these things to its citizens but somehow when it does them as ‘punishment’ for crimes, it’s okay. I ask when is it really okay. What should a free society use its criminal law to prohibit or require? Together with a group on internationally renowned scholars, I struggle with these difficult questions.

Tyrannical governments the world over criminalize political protest, labour unionization, worship of the ‘wrong’ gods, or love of the ‘wrong’ people. Criminal law can, then, be a power destructive of freedom and a tool of oppression. What makes some uses of criminal law legitimate and what makes these profoundly unjust? Criminal law theorists work to identify the principles that distinguish good from bad uses of this awesome power of governments. My interest in criminal law theory is one instance of a broader concern with legitimate government, good public policy, and just institutions. That interest also manifests itself in work I have done with YUFA (York University Faculty Association), the University Senate, and community groups.

I bring these interests into the classroom, teaching courses in ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. I have the privilege of teaching at every level – from large undergraduate courses to intimate graduate seminars. My passion for teaching extends to the development of a wide range of teaching materials, including a number of textbooks from whom thousands of students in Canada and the United States have been taught. I have been gratified by the positive responses I have had to my teaching from many students, both privately communicated and as revealed in my various course evaluations. I am honoured to be a University-wide Teaching Award winner.

Area of Specialization

Criminal law and ethics

Degrees

Ph.D., Philosophy, Dalhousie University
M.A., Philosophy, York University
B.A., Philosophy, History, University of New Brunswick

Professional Leadership

Chair of Senate, York University, July 2010 - December 2011
Master of McLaughlin College, 2009 - 2011
Chair of the Faculty of Arts Council, 2007 - 2008
Director of the York Centre for Practical Ethics, 2008 - 2009
President of the York University Faculty Association, 2002 - 2004

Research Interests:

Crime , Ethics , Philosophy of Law, Political Philosophy, Early Modern History of Philosophy

All Publications

Books

Ethics and the Public Service: Trust, Integrity and Democracy, with Mohamad Al-Hakim, Garrett MacSweeney, Anthony Antonacci and Alessandro Manduca-Barone (Toronto: Nelson Canada; 2012)

Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law, edited by Susan Dimock (N.Y.: Longman Publishers, 2006.)

Applied Ethics: Reflective Moral Reasoning, co-edited with Christopher Tucker. (Toronto: Thomson/Nelson, 2004)

Principles of Ethics 100 Years After Principia Ethica, edited by Susan Dimock. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 37: 3 (November 2003).

Classic Readings and Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law, edited by Susan Dimock (Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2001).

Liberalism, co-edited with Jan Narveson, special edition of The Journal of Value Inquiry 34: 2&3 (2000); also published in book form by Kluwer Academic Publishers (Netherlands, 2000).

Book Chapters

“David Hume: Practical Rationality Inflated” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 27 pages; 10,952 words.

“David Hume: Practical Rationality Deflated” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 25 pages; 9,555 words.

“John Locke: Property, Authority, Consent” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 21 pages; 9,372 words.

“John Locke: Natural Rights and the Limits of Government” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 20 pages; 8,710 words.

“Thomas Hobbes: Contractarianism” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 24 pages; 10,525 words.

“Thomas Hobbes: Ethical Egoism” forthcoming in Pathshala Project: A Postgraduate Course, Director Dr. Jagdish Arora, Inflibnet Centre, Gujarat India (June 2016); manuscript 28 pages; 9,931 words.

“Contractarian Criminal Law Theory and Mala Prohibita Offences,” in R.A. Duff, Lindsay Farmer, S.E. Marshall, Massimo Renzo and Victor Tadros, eds., (Oxford University Press, 2014): 151-181.

“Defences at Criminal Law,” in Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition, Ruth Chadwick, ed., (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) Vol. 1: 745-753.

“Juvenile Crime,” in ,Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition. Ruth Chadwick, ed., (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) Vol. 2: 818-826. This is a substantially revised version of my 1998 paper, with less than half the content being the same.

“Crime and Society,” in Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition. Ruth Chadwick, ed., (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) Vol. 1: 683-690. This is a substantially revised version of my 1998 paper, with less than half the content being the same.

“Parliamentary Ethics” in Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics 2nd edition. Ruth Chadwick, ed. (San Diego: Elsevier Press, 2012) : Vol. 3: 338-348.

“Please Drink Responsibly: Can the Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders be Justified by the Tracing Principle?” in Compatibilist Responsibility: Beyond Free Will and Determinism, Nicole A. Vincent, Ibo van de Poel and Jeroen van den Hoven, eds. (Netherlands: Springer Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy, 2011) : 83-100.

“The Value of Values: The Importance of Autonomy in Contractarian Reasoning,” in Liberty, Games and Contracts, ed. Malcolm Murray (Aldershot UK.: Ashgate, 2007): 81-101.

“Law and Economics: Law as Efficiency,” Classic Readings and Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2001): 117-138 and in Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2006).

“The Natural Law Theory of St. Thomas Aquinas,” The Philosophy of Law 6th edition, eds. Joel Feinberg and Jules Coleman (Wadsworth Press, 2000): 19-32. Anthologised in Beckwick, ed., Do the Right Thing (Wadsworth Press, 2001). A revised version of the paper is also included in my Classic Readings and Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2001): 4-32 and in my Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2006).

“Affirmative Action and Employment Equity in Canada,” co-authored with Christopher Tucker, Ethical Issues in Business; Inquiries, Cases and Readings, ed. Peg Tittle (Broadview Press, 2000): 236-253. Reprinted in Applied Ethics: Reflective Moral Reasoning (2004): 110-132.

“Juvenile Crime,” The Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics Vol. 3, ed. Ruth Chadwick (Academic Press, 1998): 23-29.

“Crime and Society,” The Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics Vol.1, ed. Ruth Chadwick (Academic Press, 1998): 679-691.

“Personal Autonomy, Freedom of Action and Coercion,” A Question of Values: New Canadian Perspectives on Ethics and Political Philosophy, eds. Samantha Brennan, Tracy Issacs and Michael Milde (Value Inquiry Book Series; Rodopi Press, 1997): 65-86.

Journal Articles

“The Malum prohibitum—Malum in se Distinction and the Wrongfulness Constraint on Criminalization,” Dialogue: The Canadian Philosophical Review 55:1 (2016): 1-32.

“Criminalizing Dangerousness: How to Preventively Detain Dangerous Offenders,” Criminal Law and Philosophy (September 2015), Volume 9, Issue 3, pp. 537-560.

“Actio Libera in Causa,” Criminal Law and Philosophy 7:3 (October 2013): 549-569.

“Intoxication and the Act/Control/Agency Requirement,” Criminal Law and Philosophy 6:2 (September 2012): 341-362.

“Hate as an Aggravating Factor in Sentencing,” New Criminal Law Review 15:4 (Fall 2012): 572-611.

“What Are Intoxicated Offenders Responsible For? The ‘Intoxication Defence’ Re-examined,” Criminal Law and Philosophy 5:1 (January 2011): 1-20.

“The Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders” The Journal of Value Inquiry 43:3 (October 2009): 339-368.

“Why All Feminists Should be Contractarians,” Dialogue XLVII (December 2008): 273-90.

“Reasonable Women in the Law,” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11:2 (June 2008): 153-175. This will also be published in book form: Reasonableness, ed. Shaun P. Young (Routledge, 2008).

“Two Virtues of Contractarianism,” The Journal of Value Inquiry, 37: 3 (November 2003): 395-414

“Liberal Neutrality,” Liberalism, eds., Susan Dimock and Jan Narveson (Journal of Value Inquiry 34: 2, 2000): 189-206

“Defending Non-Tuism,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29:2 (June 1999): 251-274.

“Retributivism and Trust,” Law and Philosophy 16:1 (1997): 37-62.

“Calling All Knaves: Hume on Moral Motivation,” Eidos 10:2 (December 1992): 179-97. Reprinted in a special 25th anniversary edition of the journal in 2004.

“Locke, Fordyce and Rousseau: On Liberty,” Early Modern Philosophy II (Delmar, Caravan Books, 1988): 75-84.

Conference Proceedings

“Hume on Justice: A Non-Contractarian Interpretation,” Facets of the Eighteenth Century: Descriptive, Social and Normative Discourse, ed. Roland Bonnel (Captus University Publications, 1991): 59-78.

Conference Papers

Participant (by invitation only) at The Legitimate Ambit of Domestic and International Criminalization Conference, co-hosted by Osgoode Law School and the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, April 1-3, 2016. I presented a response to Gabriel S. Mendlow’s “The Puzzle of Criminalization.

Reply to Mathieu Docuet: “Do We Always Regret Weakness of Will?”, Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, June 5, 2013 (hereafter CPA).

Participant (by invitation only) at the Collateral Sanctions on Ex-Offenders Conference, hosted by the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, March 1-2, 2013. More than 1.5 million people in the United States completed terms of punishment in 2010. We speak of these people as having been held responsible for their crimes, as having paid their debts to society. But in practice, they continue to be subject to a variety of restrictive policies, policies that restrict their access to public housing, some forms of employment, public assistance, the vote, and many other goods. Although there is a vast literature addressing questions surrounding the justification of punishment (whether and when it’s justified, why, how much, by whom, etc.), the underlying normative questions raised by collateral sanctions on ex-offenders have received much less attention. I presented a response to Zachary Hoskins’ “Reconsidering Collateral Sanctions as Punishments.”

“Criminalizing Dangerousness: How to Preventively Detain Dangerous Offenders,” CS-IVR Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, June 1, 2013 (hereafter CS-IVR).

Reconciling Mala Prohibita Offenses with the Wrongfulness Constraint on Criminalization.” Committee Session on Mala Prohibita and the Reach of the Criminal Law at the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division 110th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, December 28, 2013. Also presented to the Philosophy Department Speakers’ Series, University of Toronto, October 2, 2014

“Membership in the Social Contract”, Canadian Association for Reductionist Philosophy (hereafter CARP) Annual Meeting, Agerola Italy, May 3, 2012.

“Intoxication and the Act/Control/Agency Requirement in Criminal Law”, Canadian Section of the International Society for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy Annual Meeting, Waterloo ON, May 26, 2012 (hereafter CS-IVR).

Response to Arthur Yates, “Fooles and the Righteous in Hobbes’s Leviathan”, Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, Waterloo ON, May 27-30, 2012. (hereafter CPA)

Participant (by invitation only) at the Preventive Justice Workshop, hosted by the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, September 21-22, 2012. I was one of seven principal speakers and presented a paper titled “Preventive detention of Dangerous Offenders: Risk, Crime and Prevention”.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Criminalizing & Criminalized States Conference, co-hosted by Osgoode Law School and the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, November 9-10, 2012. This conference offered a 21st-century reassessment of the domestic and international interfaces between the state and criminal law. I presented a response to Douglas Husak’s “State Authority to Punish Crime: A Problem Easily Solved.

“A Contractarian Theory of Criminal Law”, The Criminalization Project Conference, Stirling Scotland, September 7, 2011. *R

“Enhanced Sentences for Hate Crimes”, co-author Mohamad Al-Hakim, The Criminalization Project Conference, Stirling Scotland, September 9, 2011. *R

Participant (by invitation only) at the Actio Libera in Causa Workshop hosted by the Law and Philosophy Institute, University of Pennsylvania Law School, December 8-9, 2011. I presented a principal paper titled “Actio Libera in Causa and Intoxication”. One part of that paper has appeared as “Intoxication and the Act/Control/Agency Requirement” Criminal Law and Philosophy 6:2 (2012): 341-362. Another is appearing in a special issue of the same journal on the topic of the Actio Libera in Causa principle flowing from that Workshop.

Reply to Benjamin Berger, “Mental Disorder and the Instability of Criminal Law”. Rethinking Criminal Law Theory. Nathanson Centre and Osgoode Hall Law School. Toronto ON. September 10-12, 2010.

Reply to Annalise Acord, “Viewing the Insanity Defense through the Lens of the Classics”. Nathanson Centre and Osgoode Hall Law School. Toronto ON. September 10-12, 2010.

Reply to Christine Sypnowich, “Criminalizing the Incorrect: Human Rights Commissions and the Rule of Law”. Criminalization Conference, Queen’s University and Osgoode Hall Law School. Queen’s University, Kingston ON. September 7-8, 2010.

“The Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders” Delft Technical University International Conference on Moral Responsibility: Neuroscience, Organization and Engineering, Netherlands, August 25, 2009. *R

Reply to Matthew Murphy, Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting [hereafter CPA] Ottawa, May 2009.

“The Responsibility of Intoxicated Offenders” Canadian Section of the International Society for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy Annual Meeting [hereafter CS-IVR], Ottawa, June 2009.

Presenter, “The Value of Ethics Codes in Promoting Academic Honesty in Research” conference on Blowing the Whistle - Rights, Responsibilities and Research Integrity” York University, May 2009.

Respondent to Victor Tadros, University of Warwick, on “Crime and the Distribution of Security” in Legal Philosophy Between State and Transnationalism Seminar Series, sponsor by the Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, Osgoode Hall Law School. February 2009.

“Preferences and Personal Good,” Canadian Association of Reductionist Philosophy [hereafter CARP] Annual Conference, Stroud, ON (November 2007). Also presented to the Philosophy Department Colloquia Series, York University, November 2007.

“Reasonable Women in the Law,” CS-IVR, York University (June 2006).

Commentary on John K. Davis, “Normative Judgments and Personal Traits of the Judge,” Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting [hereafter CPA], York University (May 2006)

“Baselines,” CARP Annual Conference, Stroud, ON (October 2005).

“Why All Feminists Should be Contractarians,” CS-IVR, Winnipeg MB (June 2004).

“Freedom of Commercial Expression,” CPA, Winnipeg MB (May 2004).

“Personal and Moral Good,” CARP Annual Conference, Waterloo ON (October 2003).

“The Intoxication Defence in Canadian Criminal Law”, Ontario Philosophical Society Annual Meeting [hereafter OPS] Waterloo ON (November 2002). *R Also read at the Department of Philosophy, University of Guelph, in November 2002.

“Three Virtues of Contractarianism”, CARP Annual Conference (November 2002).

“Threats to Ethics in Research”, Conference on Research Ethics, York University, November 2002.

“Coercion in the State of Nature”, CARP Annual Conference (October 2001).

“A Common Criticism of Instrumental Rationality: An Unrecognized Implication”, CPA, Quebec City (May 2001). *R

“Law and Economics”, CS-IVR, Quebec City (May 2001).

“Affirmative Action in the Universities”, Atlantic Region Philosophical Association Annual Meetings, Halifax NS (October 2000). *R

“Internalism, Naturalism and Contractarianism”, Visiting Speakers Series, University of Lethbridge (March 2000); also presented to the CARP, October 2000.

Reply to Jason Kawall, “Moral Realism”, CPA, Edmonton Alberta (May 2000).

Reply to Rob Gildert, “Deriving Restorative Justice from Jean Hampton’s Retributivism”, OPS, Guelph (October 1999).

Reply to Rich Campbell, “Feminist Contractarianism”, CPA, Ottawa (May 1998).

“Liberalism, Trust and the Law”, Western Canadian Philosophical Association Meetings [hereafter WCPA], Winnipeg (October 1997). *R

“Defending Non-tuism”, CPA, Newfoundland (June 1997); An earlier version was presented to the CARP Conference on the Assumption of Non-tuism in Contemporary Moral and Political Philosophy, University of Waterloo (December 1996). *R

Reply to Sheldon Wein, “Towards the Entrepreneurial Welfare State”, CPA, Newfoundland (June 1997).

Reply to Anita Superson, “Internalism and Persuasion”, CPA, Montreal (June 1995).

Reply to Malcolm Murray, “Occurrent Contractarianism”, CPA, Montreal (June 1995).

“Internalism and the Moral ‘Ought’”, co-authored with Peter Schotch, Society for Exact Philosophy Meetings [hereafter SEP], Layfette LA (May 1995).

“Retributivism and Trust”, Conference on Plurality and Conflict, University of Western Ontario (January 1995); Revised version presented at the OPS and WCPA (October 1995). Latter *R

“Natural Rights and the State of Nature”, co-authored with Mike Sugarman, OPS, York University (November 1994). *R

“Why IVF Should be Banned”, OPS, York University (November 1994). *R

“Personal Autonomy and Freedom of Action”, CPA, Calgary (June 1994). *R

“Elements of Goal Theory”, co-authored with Peter Schotch, SEP, Austin TX (May 1994).

“Autonomy, Freedom of Action and Coercion”, A Question of Values Conference, University of Western Ontario (February 1994).

“Liberty, Rights, and the State of Nature”, OPS, Waterloo (October 1993). *R

Reply to David Checkland, “On the Redundancy of Psychological Autonomy”, CPA, Ottawa, 1993.

Reply to Michael Stingl, “Autonomy and Feminist Ethics”, CPA, Charlottetown (June 1992).

“Personal Autonomy, Self-Respect, and Weakness of Will”, WCPA, Vancouver (October 1991). *R

“Hume on Justice: A Non-Contractarian Interpretation”, Hume Society Conference, Canberra Australia (July 1990). *R

“Dworkin’s Conventionalist Judge: A Straw Man?”, CPA, Vancouver (May 1990). *R

“The Value of Autonomy”, Atlantic Region Philosophical Association Meetings, Sydney, NS (October 1989). *R

“A Defence of Natural Rights”, CPA, Quebec City (May 1989). *R

“Locke, Fordyce and Rousseau: On Liberty”, Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, Ontario (1986). *R

Book Reviews

John Deigh and David Dolinko, eds., Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Criminal Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books, 2013. http://clcjbooks.rutgers.edu/books/oxford_handbook_of_philosophy_of_criminal_law.html.

G.R. Sullivan and Ian Dennis, eds., Seeking Security. Pre-Empting the Commission of Criminal Harms, Dialogue 51(4) (December 2013): 801-803.

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Ethicists, trans., intro. and commentary by Richard Bett, Review of Metaphysics (Fall 1998).

Michael P. Zuckert, Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, Dalhousie Review 75:1 (Spring 1995): 114-118.

Georgia Warnke, Justice and Interpretation, Arachne 2:1 (1995): 221-223.

Donald Livingston and Marie Martin, eds., Hume as Philosopher of Society, Politics and History, Canadian Philosophical Reviews XII:2 (April 1992).

Stephen Greenblatt, Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture, Queen’s Quarterly Book Review 99:1 (Spring 1992): 181-183.

Leo Damrosch, Fictions of Reality in the Age of Hume and Johnson, Dalhousie Review 69:2 (Summer 1989): 295-298.

Conferences

Should Homelessness be Recognized as Grounds for Protection under Hate Crime Legislation? The Politics of Hate: Community, Societal and Global Responses. Annual Conference of the International Network for Hate Studies and the Hate and Hostility Working Group, University of Limerick, Ireland, May 24-26, 2016.

Reconsidering Intoxication Law (R. v. Tatton), Canadian Section of the International Society for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy Annual Meeting, Ottawa, Ontario, May 30 2015 (hereafter CS-IVR).

Preference, Autonomy, and Wellbeing. Annual Conference of the Center for Ethics, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel, July 15-17, 2015.

Dialogue between Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Susan Dimock, Peace and the Environment: A Symposium Exploring the Legacy and Insights of Six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Simon Fraser University, BC, February 6 & 7, 2014.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority Workshop, hosted by the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, April 19-20, 2013.

Participant (by invitation only) at The Ethics of Secrecy and the Rule of Law Workshop, hosted by the Institute for Law and Philosophy at the Pennsylvania Law School, May 18-19, 2012.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Inaugural Conference: Rethinking Criminal Justice, hosted by the Robina Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, November 11-12, 2011. The conference brought together local, national, and internationally prominent scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers to discuss the current state of the criminal justice system, to identify the most pressing topics at hand, and to help refine the Institute’s work going forward.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Human Dignity and the Criminal Law, hosted by the University of Minnesota Law School, April 7-8, 2011. The conference brought together local, national, and internationally prominent scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers to discuss the extent to which criminal law must treat its addressees as agents possessing dignity and how dignity shapes a range of substantive crimes.

Participant (by invitation only) at the Roundtable on Judicial Ethics, hosted by the York Centre for Practical Ethics, York University, October 26-28, 2007. I was co-organiser and co-host of a three day workshop hosted for federally-appointed judges in Canada. In this Chatham House workshop, we reviewed the Ethical Principles for Judges (which applies to all federally-appointed judges in Canada) on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its adoption.

Panellist discussing the work of Jan Narveson, CPA, St, Catherine’s (May 1996).


Teaching:

Approach To Teaching
I love teaching. I actually think it is one of the great benefits of my position as a professor that I regularly get to teach students at all levels. The areas of expertise in which I teach are ethics and moral philosophy, philosophy of law and political philosophy. Given my subject matter, my teaching must be both traditional in some ways and radical in others. Inclining toward tradition is the discipline of philosophy itself. Philosophical instruction depends upon the development and assessment of arguments, and developing the critical skills necessary to distinguish good arguments from bad. Because so much of philosophy proceeds by argument, expressed in canonical texts, students simply must read to learn philosophy. But the subject matter I teach is, in another sense, not entirely new to students, because it is often concerned with issues about which students have very firm pre-theoretical opinions: morality, justice, fairness, personal autonomy, rights, law, punishment, responsibility, and personal wellbeing. Whether on controversial moral issues such as abortion or war, cloning or use of animals for cosmetics testing; on political issues such as same-sex marriage or proroguing Parliament, foreign humanitarian intervention or selling water; on legal issues such as the death penalty or libel laws, students often have views. My job then is much more radical. First, I have to disrupt their settled opinions, encouraging them to think critically about their own deeply held values. But this must be done in a way that both respects the diversity of moral opinion and does not result in a parallelizing moral relativism or subjectivism. Right and wrong are not just in the eye of the beholder and some moral views are more defensible than others. Giving students the tools with which to critically assess competing moral views is absolutely vital. But it is also frightening, because to embrace the very exercise requires acknowledgment that one’s own normative views are fallible.

I also have the privilege of working with graduate students at York. I have supervised a number of M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertations, as well as serving as a member of many other doctoral committees. I have taught a number of graduate seminars. When I teach graduate courses, I make it clear that my goal is to have students produce publishable work from the course. I have had many instances of success in this regard, with students producing papers that have been accepted in high quality, referred journals and well-placed conferences. I try, in teaching graduate students, to be both inspirational and aspirational and they often rise to the challenge. They, at least, appreciate the confidence that my attitude and expectations express. Needless to say, this approach often involves working with my students long after a course is finished, as they further refine their projects and expand their knowledge of the surrounding literatures and debates.

I work with graduate students outside the class in mentoring roles as well. I give talks, and discuss individually, such matters as how to develop a c.v., how to document teaching, how to publish, how to determine the best journal for a given paper, etc. I also read and provide advice on grant and scholarship applications. I believe part of a Ph.D. program should be focused on teaching students how to teach, and so spend a considerable amount of time mentoring students with respect to pedagogy. I encourage students to take advantage of the wealth of pedagogical resources we have on campus. I make myself available to visit tutorials and provide written feedback. I speak often with my TAs about course material, and invite them to participate in developing methods of assessment in our courses.


Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/PHIL2050 6.0  Philosophy of Law LECT