Scholars and Students with Prof. O’Neill: Monday, Feb. 27

Professor Timothy O’Neill will be the second speaker in the library’s Scholars & Students series.  You may know Prof. O’Neill for his classes and writings on criminal law and procedure, but in his most recent article he explores a different side of human behavior.  In Law and “The Argumentative Theory” he looks at the work of cognitive scientists Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber who studied why human beings are so good at reasoning in some situations and so hopelessly wrong in others.  Their answer is that the function of reasoning is not to arrive at the “right answer,” but rather to find support for a conclusion the reasoner has already intuited. In a nutshell, reasoning is not intended to discover truth; rather, its role is to win arguments with other people.  In his article Prof. O’Neill applies the “argumentative theory” to the legal reasoning used by law students, lawyers and judges and suggests what they can learn from Mercier and Sperber.

Please join us for lunch and a conversation with Prof. O’Neill about his scholarship on Monday, February 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm in Room 608.

Space is limited.  RSVP to

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