1112 Apr 09:00
- 17:00

Conference “Human & Non-Human Agency: Philosophical Foundations & Legal Implications”

In both law and moral theory, agency is often regarded as a pre-condition for moral responsibility or legal liability. We hold agents responsible for their acts or make them liable for the consequences of their actions. But what does it mean to be an agent? This question deserves (re-)consideration for at least two reasons. On the one hand, it has long been assumed that human beings are more or less rational, acting for reasons after deliberation. This view is increasingly called into question by insights from behavioural, cognitive and neurosciences. On the other hand, the number of potential agents is growing, with artificially intelligent systems the last in a line of entities such as companies or even states.


This conference seeks to address the philosophical foundations and legal implications of human and non-human agency in light of these developments. This asks for critical, interdisciplinary reflection, not only on the concepts and practices of the law, but as importantly also on the basic presuppositions and assumptions that underlie the cognitive sciences, and what they may imply for the legal system. This conference seeks to address, amongst others, the following topics:

  • The nature of agency in legal and moral theory
  • The normative and psychological basis of agency
  • Legal foundations and implications of human & non-human agency
  • Agency of legal entities (corporations, states)
  • Agency and artificially intelligent systems
  • Challenges of behavioural, cognitive and neurosciences for agency

Organized by: Jaap Hage, Marko Jelicic, David Roef, Antonia Waltermann

Abstract and paper submission

Authors are invited to submit abstracts of papers on these topics and related ones to lawsupport[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl before February 1, 2019.
Abstracts should be in Word-format, written in English, and about 1000 words long. Please include also an additional list of references.

Speakers will be selected on the basis of academic quality, originality and topical fit with other papers. We aim to respond to all submissions before the end of February.


Regular participant € 75,00
Student (bachelor or master) € 40,00
The registration fee includes coffee breaks and lunches on both days.

Registration is now open.