Michael Moore

CAS Professor of Law and Philosophy

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Professor Moore is widely regarded as one of the leading legal theorists of his generation, most recently winning the 2021 American Law School Association’s Hart-Dworkin Award in Jurisprudence, “given annually to a scholar who has made significant and lasting contributions to the philosophical understanding of law.” Despite his central focus on the philosophy of law, Professor Moore has broad research interests across many fields and numerous disciplines. Among the topics he has addressed in his numerous books and papers have been: the challenges of contemporary neuroscience to our self-conception; the psychoanalytic theory of dreams; legal versus psychiatric conceptions of mental illness; the unconscious and other challenges to both the boundaries and the unity of the self; the nature of interpretation, both in law and in other hermeneutic disciplines such as history and literature; the objectivity of moral judgment; the general shape of moral norms, both of obligation and of permission; the nature of moral rights; the justification of punishment and, more particularly, the justification and implications of retributive-oriented punishment; the nature of moral responsibility and the nature of the natural properties on which the moral property of responsibility rests (including book length treatments of action, causation, and intention); the nature of liberty, both by itself and as a limit on coercive legislation in a just state; the nature of historical explanation. His research includes application of his more abstract theories to concrete issues in our political/legal life, such as whether torture (under the Bush Administration) or assassination (under the Obama Administration) may justifiably be used in the war on terrorism; whether the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik was rightly found to be sane and responsible; whether addiction is an excuse; whether the death penalty has been imposed justly in certain well-known cases; whether certain judicial nominees have been apt candidates for high-court positions; whether the legal prohibition on recreational use of certain drugs can be justified; and whether the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, was one or two events for insurance purposes.

In addition to his CAS appointment, Professor Moore is a Professor of Law, Co-Director of the Program in Law and Philosophy, and for many years until recently, Professor of Philosophy, all at the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus. He also holds the Walgreen Chair, the first and only university-wide chair at all campuses of the University of Illinois. He has previously held the Robert Kingsley Chair at the University of Southern California, the Leon Meltzer Chair at the University of Pennsylvania, the Mason Ladd Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the College of Law as well as Visiting Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of Iowa, the William Minor Lile Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the University of Virginia, the Florence Rogatz Visiting Professorship at Yale University, and the Warren Distinguished Professorship at the University of San Diego. He has held repeated fellowships at the Australian National University’s Research School of the Social Sciences and its Fleming Centre for Advanced Legal Research in Canberra, the Biology Department of the University of Pennsylvania, the Humanities Research Institute of all campuses of the University of California, the Georgetown University Law Center, the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy, and the Law and Humanities Program of Harvard University. He has also held faculty positions at Tel Aviv University, Israel; Universidad Torcuato di Tella, Argentina; Erlangen-Nurmberg Universität, Germany; Lviv University, Ukraine; Stanford University; University of Kansas; Northwestern University; and University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of eight books, the most recent—Mechanical Choices: The Responsibility of the Human Machine—being published in 2020 by Oxford University Press on the topic of neuroscience and responsibility.

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