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Gideon Yaffe to Join Yale Law Faculty in July as Professor of Law

Gideon Yaffe, a professor of philosophy and law at the University of Southern California, will join the Yale Law School faculty on July 1, 2012, as a Professor of Law.

Professor Yaffe has been on the USC faculty since 1999, teaching criminal law and a variety of philosophy courses. His research interests include the philosophy of law, particularly criminal law; the study of metaphysics including causation, free will and personal identity; and the study of intention and the theory of action. He has also written about the history of early modern philosophy.

“We are celebrating the arrival of Professor Yaffe,” said Dean Robert Post ’77. “He is a profound intellect, and he brings to the school a deep grasp of how the insights of philosophy can be brought to bear on legal questions like personal responsibility and accountability. His broad understanding of contemporary neuroscience is also of enormous value.”

Professor Yaffe is a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Law and Neuroscience Project and collaborates with several neuroscientists to devise experiments that aim to be of legal and philosophical significance. With support from the Mellon Foundation, he spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a neuroeconomics student at Caltech. He also spent a year in residence at the Huntington Library with support from a Frederick Burkhardt fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2010, he received The Berger Prize—given by the American Philosophical Association for the best article or chapter in legal philosophy over the last two years—for “Excusing Mistakes of Law.”

His most recent book, “Attempts” (Oxford, 2010), concerns the philosophical foundations of the law governing attempted crimes. He is also the author of “Manifest Activity: Thomas Reid’s Theory of Action” (Oxford, 2004) and “Liberty Worth the Name: Locke on Free Agency” (Princeton, 2000).

He holds an A.B. in philosophy from Harvard and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford.