Centro per l’Eccellenza e gli Studi Transdisciplinari

Luigi Einaudi Campus, Hall C2 | Lungodora Siena 100, Turin


Thursday 19 March 2015

Neuroscience and free will

Transitions of the mind.

Luigi Einaudi Campus, Hall C2 | Lungodora Siena 100, Turin

The complex relationship between neuroscience and free will is the subject of debate between Franca D’Agostini, Paolo Heritier and Amedeo Santosuosso. A philosopher, a philosopher of law and a judge analyse the rôle of the individual and his/her capacity for self-determination within a complex society. Beside the authoritative voices of the speakers will be young discussants, Alessandro Campo, Luca Fabbris and Tommaso Portaluri.

Neuroscience represents one of the most recent attempts to call into doubt the idea of free will, upon which the organisation of contemporary society is based, with an important scientific innovation: the debate is taken inside the body. In light of this, do concepts such as ‘responsibility’ and ‘punishment’ still make sense? Would it be necessary (as is partially happening now) to devise a legal system that is based on preventive security measures rather than punishment?

Forensic neuroscience has also had considerable success in court – for example, on the evidentiary elements of criminal proceedings – which pose important questions about the relationship between the expert and the judge.

The event is funded by the Student Council of the University of Turin in the framework of the Biennale Democrazia.


Franca D’Agostini

Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Polytechnic University of Turin, and Logic and Epistemology for the Social Sciences at the University of Milan (Graduate School), she is the author of articles and philosophical treatises and collaborates with the newspapers La Repubblica, La Stampa, and Il Manifesto. Her first book, Analitici e continentali. Guida alla filosofia degli ultimi trent’anni (Raffaello Cortina, 1997) represented one of the most important texts dedicated to making comparisons between the philosophical traditions of the twentieth century. Among her recent publications are: Menzogna (Bollati Boringhieri, 2012) and Realismo? Una questione non controversa (Bollati Boringhieri, 2013).

Paolo Heritier

Associate Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Turin, he also teaches Legal and Philosophical Anthropology. Among his areas of research are: forensic neuroscience, aesthetics and legal epistemology, the theory of networks and complexity, systematic and liturgical theology and legislation. Among his publications are: Ordine spontaneo ed evoluzione nel pensiero di Hayek (Jovene, 1997), Società post-hitleriane? (Giappichelli, 2009), Estetica giuridica (Giappichelli, 2012) and La dignità disabile (EDB, 2014).

Amedeo Santosuosso

President of the Research Centre ‘European Centre for Law, Science and New Technologies’ (ECLT) at the University of Pavia, he teaches Law, science, and new technologies at the same university. He has been a judge since 1978, and since 2004 he has been Counsel at the Court of Appeal in Milan, where since 2014 he presides over the First Civil Section. Among his publications the following stand out: Le tecniche della biologia e gli arnesi del diritto (with Redi, Gargagna and Zuccotti; Ibis, 2003); Le neuroscienze e il diritto (Ibis, 2009) and Diritto, scienza, nuove tecnologie (Cedam, 2011).


Alessandro Campo

Doctoral student of Rights, Institutions and the Market at the University of Turin

Luca Fabbris

Student of Philosophy at the University of Turin.

Tommaso Portaluri

Student of Economics and Statistics at the University of Turin and the Collegio Carlo Alberto, he is the President of CEST.

Luigi Einaudi Campus, Hall C2 | Lungodora Siena 100, Turin