Katrina Sifferd, J.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of London, King's College

 

I am interested in criminal responsibility and punishment, and the impact scientific theories of decision-making or action should have on culpability. Most recently I have been working with William Hirstein on a theory that the seat of legal responsiblity resides in executive function, and that many criminal defenses can be understood as these functions going wrong. I have also been using virtue theory to critique certain types of criminal punishment.

I hold a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of London, King's College. My Ph.D. thesis, entitled 'Psychology and the Criminal Law', was supervised by David Papineau, and explores the nature of the folk concepts underpinning criminal responsibility and how those concepts may be updated via scientific psychology. I also have a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, and a B.A. in psychology from Valparaiso University. Before teaching at Elmhurst College I was a Rockefeller Fellow in Law and Public Policy and a Visiting Professor in philosophy at Dartmouth College. Prior to earning my Ph.D., I worked as a senior research analyst on projects for the National Institute of Justice.

At Elmhurst College I teach Problems of Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Law and Criminal Law. I am in the process of developing a Neuroethics course with a colleague in psychology, Pat Ackles.

Areas of Specialization

  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Ethics

Areas of Competence

  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Ancient philosophy

Office: Hammerschmidt Chapel, 004
Mailbox: 241
Phone: (630) 617-6475
Fax: (630) 617-3609
E-mail: sifferdk@elmhurst.edu
Twitter: @ksifferd

Education:

University of London, King's College — PhD, Philosophy - October, 2004

  • Thesis Title: Psychology and the Criminal Law
  • Dissertation Supervisor: David Papineau

University of London, King's College — MA, Philosophy - August, 2002

  • Earned First Class Honors in Philosophy of Mind
  • Thesis Title: How to Dissolve, Not Solve, the Frame Problem

DePaul University College of Law — JD, Law - June, 1996

  • Named Best Orator of the 2006 student class
  • Admitted as a Dean's Scholar

Valparaiso University — BA, Psychology - June, 1993

  • Graduated Cum Laude

Academic Work Experience:

Current:   Associate Professor and Chair, Philosophy Department, Elmhurst College
2008-2012:   Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Elmhurst College
2006-2008:   Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Elmhurst College
2004-2005:   Rockefeller Fellow in Law and Public Policy and Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College (Post-Doctoral Fellowship)

Scholarly Activity:

A. Papers Submitted or In Preparation

  • “Morse, Non-Reductivism, and Mental Causation”
  • “The Significance of Psychopaths for Human Ethics,” with William Hirstein, for Brain Theory, Springer Press (Charles Wolfe, Ed.)
  • “Rehabilitation, Virtue, and the Criminal Character,” to be included in a volume entitled From Personality to Virtue, under consideration at OUP (Jon Webber and Alberto Masala, Eds.)
  • “Punishment of Late Stage Demented Offenders” (APA Central comment presented February 17, 2012

B. Papers Published or In Press

  • (2013) “On the Criminal Culpability of Successful versus Unsuccessful Psychopaths” (with William Hirstein), Neuroethics 6: 129-140.
  • (2012) “Translating Scientific Evidence into the Language of the Folk: Executive Function as Capacity-Responsibility” in Nicole A Vincent (ed) Legal Responsibility and Neuroscience, OUP series on neuroscience and law (series editors: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Lynn Nadel, and Fred Schauer).
  • (2012) “Changing the Criminal Character: Nanotechnology and Criminal Punishment,” in Proceedings of the Young Scholar Symposium on Law and Science, (edited by Amedeo Santosuosso, European Centre for Law, Science and New Technologies) University of Pavia Press, Italy.
  • (2011) “Neuroethics” for the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (2nd Edition), Elsevier, OUP (Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Editor).
  • (2011) “The Legal Self: Executive Process and Legal Theory”, co-authored with William Hirstein, Consciousness and Cognition, 20, 156-171
  • (2010) “The Unique Challenges Posed By Mock Trial: Evaluation and Assessment of a Simulation Course”, co-authored with Teri Bengtson, Journal of Political Science Education, 6(1), 70-86
  • (2008) “Nanotechnology and the Attribution of Responsibility”, Nanotechnology Law and Business Journal, 5(2), 177-190
  • (2007) ‘The Intersect of Science and Criminal Responsibility’, The Human Future: A Newsletter from the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future, Summer Edition
  • (2007) “Can Baird’s View of Adolescent Morality Inform Adolescent Criminal Justice Policy?” Moral Psychology Vol. 3: The Neuroscience of Morality, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong ed., (MIT Press)
  • (2006) “In Defense of the Use of Commonsense Psychology in the Criminal Law”, Law and Philosophy 25: 571-612
  • (2003) “You Can Get There From Here”, Essay Review of Daniel Dennett, Freedom Evolves, British Journal of the History and Philosophy of Psychology 5(1), 107
  • (2003) Essay Review of Carolyn Price, Functions in Mind: A Theory of Intentional Content, British Journal of the History and Philosophy of Psychology 5(1), 104
  • (2003) “Making sense of modern Darwinism”, Review of Laland and Brown, Sense and Nonsense, Heredity 90, 418
  • (2002) “A Process and Impact Evaluation of Cook County’s State’s Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Assistance Program”, Report Prepared for the National Institute of Justice, written with Stevens, P., Myrent, M. and Lurigio, A. (available at: http://www.icjia.org/public/pdf/researchreports/CCSAOVWAP.pdf)
  • (1998) “Victim Services Stretched Far in Rural Areas.” Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The Compiler 17(4): 11-14

C. Academic Presentations

  • European University Institute School of Law, Florence, Italy, “Morse, Non-Reductivism, and Mental Causation” (June 11, 2013)
  • Zygon Center, Chicago Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science, “The Criminal Character and Virtue Theory” (April 29, 2013)
  • University of Nebraska, Duluth Colloquium talk, “On the Responsibilty of Psychopaths” (November 30, 2012)
  • University of Missouri, St. Louis Colloquium talk, “On the Responsibility of Psychopaths” (November 2, 2012)
  • Character and Personality Conference, Contributed Paper (Paris-Sorbonne University July 3-4, 2012) “Neuro-Rehabilitation and the Criminal Character”
  • Society for Philosophy and Psychology annual conference, Contributed Paper (University of Colorado Boulder, June 22-24, 2012) “On the Criminal Culpability of Successful versus Unsuccessful Psychopaths”
  • American Philosophical Association Central Division Annual Meeting (Chicago February 17, 2012) “Punishment of Late Stage Demented Offenders” (Comment on Annette Durfner’s paper, “Late Stage Demented Offenders”)
  • The Law & Science Young Scholars Symposium, European Center for Law, Science and New Technologies (ECLT), Contributed Paper (University of Pavia, Italy, June 9, 2011) “Changing the Criminal Character: Nanotechnology and Criminal Sentencing”
  • The 9th Biennial Symposium on Women’s Scholarly and Creative Work (Elmhurst College, March 2011) “The Legal Self”
  • International Conference ‘Moral Responsibility: Neuroscience, Organization & Engineering,’ Contributed Paper (Delft University, the Netherlands, August 24-27, 2009) “Using Executive Function as a Bridge to Neuroscience in the Criminal Courts”
  • The 8th Biennial Symposium on Women’s Scholarship and Creative work (Elmhurst College, March 2009) ‘Philosophy, Responsibility, and New Technologies’
  • President Alan Ray’s Inauguration Ceremony (Elmhurst College, November 2008). One of two faculty chosen to speak as a part of the ceremony.
  • IIT Chicago Kent College of Law Institute for Biotechnology and the Human Future Symposium ‘The Spotless Mind’ (National Press Club, Washington DC, February 16, 2007). “The Intersect of Science and Criminal Responsibility” (Comment upon Patricia Churchland’s Keynote Address)
  • IIT Kent College of Law Institute for Biotechnology and the Human Future Symposium on ‘Body Worlds’ (Chicago, January 26, 2007). “Commoditization, Consent and Empathy”
  • American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division (December 30, 2006). “On the Dangers of Allowing Soldiers to Dictate Public Policy with Their Feet” (Comment upon ‘Soldiers, Slaves and the Liberal State’ by David Garren)
  • American Philosophical Association, Central Division (April 28, 2005). “Eliminativism about Commonsense Psychological Concepts in the Criminal Law” (Colloquium Session)
  • Legal Studies Program, Dartmouth College (February, 2005). “The Role of Psychology in the Criminal Law”
  • Society for the Evolutionary Analysis in Law, Contributed Paper (Atlanta, October 13-15, 2004). “Scientific Psychology and the Criminal Law”
  • Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Contributed Paper (Lincoln, Nebraska, June 3-6, 2003). “Eliminativism about Folk Psychology in the Criminal Law”
  • Brain and Cognition Research Group (Nottingham Trent University, May 21, 2003). “Commonsense Psychology as the Grounds for Attributions of Culpability in Criminal Law”
  • 2002 Inaugural Speech, Departmental Weekend at Cumberland Lodge (Philosophy Department, King’s College London, Oct 11, 2002). “Serving Dinner vs. Saving Lives: Applying Philosophy to Criminal Law”
  • Evolution and the Emotions Working Group (King’s College London, March 20, 2002). “The Difference between Ignorance and Dismissal: A Solution to the Frame Problem.”
  • Darwin @ LSE Work In Progress Group (London School of Economics, Feb 25, 2002). “How to Avoid the Frame Problem”
  • Symposium on the Frame Problem (New College, Oxford University, Nov 15, 2001). “How to Avoid the Frame Problem”

Non-Academic Work Experience:

Center for the Advancement of Research, Training and Education in Criminal Justice, Loyola University Chicago Assistant Director, August 1998 to August 1999

  • Responsible for initiation and management of all center activities, which include consultation projects with criminal justice agencies, and conducting state and federally funded research and evaluation projects.

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Chicago, Illinois Senior Research Analyst/Criminologist, January 1997 to July 1998

  • Contract employee funded by the National Institute of Justice. Managed a $250,000 federal project to assess the physical and psychological effects of victimization and the ability of the judicial system to address victim needs. Performed analysis of crime trends and juvenile and female offenders.

Professional Memberships:

  • 2009-current: Society for Philosophy and Psychology
  • 2008-current: Illinois Bar Association, licensed attorney
  • 2002-current: Member of the American Philosophical Association, Central Division
  • 1996: Admitted to the Illinois State Bar (Licensed to Practice Law November 7, 1996)

Other Honors, Awards and Activities:

  • 2011: Earned 12 Continuing Legal Education credits for attending the Law and the Brain conference (March, NYU law school, New York, NY)
  • 2011: Reviewer of entries for the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (2nd Edition), Elsevier, OUP (Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Editor)
  • 2009: Certified to Defend Capital Murder Cases in Illinois (State Appellate Defender and Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education)
  • 2006: Invited Participant in Bioethics Working Group at the International Institute for Nanotechnology 2006 Symposium (Northwestern University, IL)
  • 2003: Fully Funded Participant in the Summer Institute on Bounded Rationality and the Law (Max Planck Institute, Berlin, Germany)
  • 2000-2002: Susan B. Stebbing Studentship for Study in Philosophy (Tuition Scholarship, King's College London)
  • 1994-1996: Highest Ranked Member of the Moot Court Team (DePaul University College of Law)
  • 1993-1996: Dean's Scholar Tuition Scholarship (DePaul University College of Law)

Recent Grants Awarded:

  • Summer 2012 Awarded $1,000 from the MacArthur Foundation and $3,500 from the Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching to attend Neuroscience Bootcamp at the University of Pennsylvania (July 30-August 9)
  • Summer 2010 Awarded $3,500 to do interdisciplinary research on the topic of ethics and the criminal law; used $1,000 of these funds to support a student research assistant (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)
  • 2010 Awarded a $4000 faculty grant with Pat Ackles (Chair, Psychology Department) to develop a bidisciplinary general education course on Neuroethics (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)
  • Summer 2009 Awarded $1,000 to support students in their undergraduate research (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)
  • 2009 Awarded a $4,000 faculty grant with Richard Greenleaf (Chair, Criminal Justice Department) to develop a bidisciplinary course on Capital Punishment (Elmhurst College Center for Scholarship and Teaching)

References:

William Hirstein
Professor, Department of Philosophy
Elmhurst College
190 N. Prospect
Elmhurst, IL 60126
williamh@elmhurst.edu | 630-617-3582

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics, Philosophy Department and the Kenan Institute for Ethics
Duke University
104AA West Duke Building
Durham, NC 27708
ws66@duke.edu | 603-715-7447

Andrew Samwick
Director, Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy
6082 Rockefeller Hall
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
Andrew.samwick@dartmouth.edu | 603-646-3874

David Papineau
Professor of Philosophy
King's College London
The Strand London, UK
david.papineau@kcl.ac.uk | 020 7848 2351