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Sanja Dembić

Sanja Dembic

Academic Coordination, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Philosophy of psychiatry, philosophy of action and moral responsibility

Office hours

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9:00am to 4:00pm (CET)

My current interests lie in the philosophy of psychiatry, philosophy of action, and in the topic of moral and legal responsibility.

In my dissertation I have developed a definition of the concept of mental disorder in terms of abilities. I argue, roughly, that a human being has a mental disorder if and only if with respect to some of her behaviour or attitudes she is unable to respond adequately to her reasons (for acting a certain way or for having certain attitudes) and is being harmed or sufficiently restricted in her autonomy by the condition that results from that inability.

In my new project, I am exploring the relation between moral and legal responsibility, on the one hand, and abilities, on the other. Which abilities are required for it to be appropriate to hold someone morally/legally responsible for something? Is only moral competence required or also the ability to do otherwise? What exactly are the responsibility-relevant moral competences and what is it to be able to do otherwise? More generally, I am interested in whether it is appropriate to hold certain human beings – for instance, human beings with severe mental illnesses such as antisocial personality disorder or severe addictive disorder – morally (and legally) responsible for their actions and attitudes and why it is (not) appropriate to do so.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, German Research Foundation