“Experimental and Naturalistic Perspectives on the Philosophy of Law”


Ruhr-University Bochum, June 4th–6th 2018

 The newly founded “Center for Law, Behavior, and Cognition” at Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) invites submissions for its inaugural conference on “Experimental and Naturalistic Perspectives on the Philosophy of Law”.

While ubiquitous in legal sociology, legal psychology or law and economics, empirical methods and scientific explanations are rarely applied to the philosophy of law. Much of this absence may be explained by the fact that legal philosophy is still dominantly conceived as linguistic or conceptual analysis that does not benefit from empirical or scientific methodologies. Instead, problems like the nature of legal normativity or the elements and structure of legal systems are perceived as philosophical questions that are best addressed through characteristically philosophical methods.

In the meantime, advances in experimental philosophy and economics, as well as moral, social, and evolutionary psychology have yielded novel insights into the nature of human morality, cooperation and social cognition that may provide purchase on questions inherent to legal philosophy. The inaugural conference of CLBC aims to provide a forum of exchange for scholars from philosophy and from the social sciences engaged with experimental and naturalistic methods in the philosophy of law.

We welcome submissions from legal scholars, experimental philosophers, and psychologists examining law from various empirical and naturalistic perspectives. We also invite theoretical proposals addressing implications of empirical research for legal philosophy, as well as methodological papers addressing potential issues or challenges associated with experimental studies of the legal system.

In particular, the conference will cover four (related and overlapping) areas of interest for legal philosophy:

  • naturalistic approaches to legal philosophy
  • experiments on philosophical intuitions and judgments in legal philosophy
  • the import of research in moral and cognitive psychology for legal philosophy
  • the import of research in experimental game theory for legal philosophy

Keynote and Invited Speakers: Markus Kneer, Zurich; Joshua Knobe, Yale; Edouard Machery, Pittsburgh; Matthias Mahlmann, Zurich; Chrysostomos Mantzavinos, Athens; Albert Newen, Bochum; Dietmar von der Pfordten, Gottingen;  Ralf Poscher, Freiburg; Dan Priel, York; Roseanna Sommers, Yale; Sylvia Terbeck, Plymouth; Pascale Willemsen, Bochum; Wojciech Załuski, Krakow.

Organizers: Stefan Magen, Karolina Prochownik, Center for Law, Behavior, and Cognition, Faculty of Law, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitaetsstraße 150, D-44780 Bochum

Abstract submission deadline: Please send extended abstracts (max. 750 words) to with the subject line “CLBC 2018 submission” by February 15th, 2018.

Paper acceptance: We will notify speakers by March 15st, 2018.

Contact: If you have any further questions about the conference, please feel free to contact the organizers at