CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Denno on Pillsbury's Science of Mind

Deborah W. Denno (Fordham University School of Law) has posted Professor Samuel H. Pillsbury's Science of Mind: A Tribute (Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 167, 2023) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This essay overviews Professor Samuel Pillsbury's contributions to the study of criminal law, focusing on how he has helped scholars see doctrine more expansively, particularly in the areas of mental states and punishment. The discussion pinpoints Pillsbury's concepts of "responsible choice" and a moral-emotive theory of retribution, emphasizing the significance of human emotions in the criminal justice system, which range in scale from indifference to empathy. The essay also highlights Pillbury's vast scope of contributions, including developing more refined standards of cognitive awareness, criminal premeditation, provocation, and negligence. Overall, Pillsbury's conceptions of legal doctrine draw on scientific understanding and human appreciation of right and wrong, which also prompt his proposals for integrated reforms and legal definitions. Professor Pillsbury's scholarship will continue to impact the discourse on legal tenants within criminal law for years to come.

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