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Gideon Yaffee

Gideon Yaffe, PhD

Faculty Member

Email | Department | NCBI

Aligning criminal law with neuroscientific discoveries

The criminal law is imperfect. It should be improved both to conform to philosophically defensible moral principles, and, also, to conform with what is known about the mind from psychology and neuroscience. My goal is both to identify the legal reforms necessary to align the law with valid moral principles, and to identify legal reforms that fit the best neuroscience and psychology of today. In addition to aiming to produce work that advances philosophical conceptions of the law, I collaborate with psychologists and neuroscientists on experiments aiming to illuminate criminal responsibility.




Gideon Yaffe received his bachelor's degree in 1992 from Harvard in Philosophy and his PhD in Philosophy from Stanford in 1998. During his time as an associate professor at the University of Southern California, he gained some legal training and spent a year as a neuroeconomics student at Caltech. He came to Yale in 2012. His partner works in the film industry and their daughter is in high school.

Research Contributions

Detecting Mens Rea in the Brain

University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2020)

Mind-reading by Brain-reading and Criminal Responsibility

Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neuroscience (2016)