Tilburg School of Humanities

Communication, Culture, Philosophy, Religion and Liberal Arts and Sciences

Department Day of Philosophy 2015

logo Departement Day DPhil

The annual Department Day of Philosophy will be held on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.

This event, organized in collaboration with Studievereniging Sapientia Ludenda, will start at 16:30.

Venue: Klasse Theater, Carré 16, 5017 JE Tilburg. See the website (in Dutch) for route description and parking space.

16:30 Reception
17:00 Official opening of the Department Day 2015
17:15 Lecture by Ton Derksen: Philosophy and Crime
18:30 Drinks and dinner
20:15 Debate competition (organized by Sapi)
22:00 End of the official part of the Departement Day

Speaker and lecture

Ton Derksen

foto Derksen

I was professor of philosophy of science and epistemology at Tilburg University and Nijmegen University. Eleven years ago I left the university and got involved in the analysis of and fight against judicial miscarriages. I discovered that the mistakes I encountered were the mistakes I had lectured on. Since then I have been doing forensic philosophy, which is in fact a kind of applied philosophy of science. My writings have led to the freedom of a number of people: Lucia de Berk (life sentence), and three people sentenced to prison for ten years. I am involved in the revision procedures of three people with a life sentence and one with a 20-year sentence. Though I am not wiser, I am sadder. Books published in forensic philosophy: Lucia de B.: een reconstructie van een gerechtelijke dwaling (2006), Het OM in de fout (comparative study), De ware toedracht (theoretical study), Leugens over Louwes (case study), Verkeerde plaats, verkeerde tijd ((case study about Olaf Hamers), Verknipt bewijs (about the life sentence of Baybasin), De Baybasin taps: een politiek gevangene in Nederland (verslag van het onderzoek in het kader van de herzieningsaanvraag), Onschuldig vast (empirical and theoretical study about percentage of people who are sentenced to prison while they are innocent) (forthcoming November 2016), Putten II: weer fout (forthcoming April 2017, after the revision in Putten I, the real murderer was allegedly found en convicted. That is another judicial error).

Lecture: ‘Philosophy and crime’

My main theme is criminal justice and how philosophy can help prevent judicial miscarriages. I start with a general topic: crime as an promising subject for a broad philosophical research program in which ethics, social philosophy, anthropology, and philosophy of science can participate. I proceed to doubt as the philosopher’s stone, but also as a state of mind the brain does not like. A number of cognitive instincts emerge from this dislike. As many (most) prosecutors, judges and lawyers are not aware of their influence in everyday truth finding, their silent control leads to judicial errors. I end the talk with a demonstration how mistakes well known in philosophy of science underlie two sentences to life imprisonment: Lucia de Berk (prosecutor’s fallacy) and Olaf Hamers (temptation of fitting evidence).