Prof.dr. Maureen Sie

Prof.dr.. Maureen Sie (1966) is associate professor in Meta-ethics and Moral Psychology. She studied philosophy at the University of Utrecht, and obtained her PhD (NWO-funded) there, with a thesis on Moral Responsibility and Free Will.

Currently she is working on how exactly to fill in the details of our concept of moral agency in a way that accommodates those recent developments in the behavioral, cognitive, and neuroscience that can be subsumed under the heading of the ‘adaptive unconscious.’ Previously she has published on moral responsibility, free will, (what is currently known as ‘new’) compatibilism, autonomy, and moral reasons.

In August 2008, Sie received a prestigious VIDI grant from the Dutch Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO), with which she started a research group on the theme ‘Conscious Control, Deliberative Awareness, and Moral Agency’ (started january 2009). This project identifies the paradigm of the so-called adaptive unconscious as the cause of feelings of unease and uncertainty about our status as moral agents. It relates this paradigm to contemporary discussions about moral agency in the ‘philosophy of mind and action’ and ‘meta-ethics’ and discusses its implications.

Among her international publications is her book ‘Justifying Blame, Why free will matters and why it does not’ (Rodopi, 2005) that shows why we can justify blaming people for their wrong actions, even in the case free will does not exist. In 2004 she co-edited the volume Reasons of ones Own with Marc Slors (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Bert van den Brink (University of Utrecht). Recent scientific papers include: “The BCN challenge to compatibilist free will and personal responsibility” (co-authored with Arno Wouters) in: Neuroethics, 2009 and “Moral Agency, Conscious Control, and Deliberative Awareness” in: Inquiry, 2009. In Dutch she published the chapter: “Moreel handelen. Oorzaken, sprookjes en redenen,” in: De Menselijke Beslisser a publication of the Dutch Scientific Advisory board of Government (WRR) edited by Tiemeijer, W.L., Thomas, C. A., Prast, H.M, 2009. In 2011 she edited the volume Hoezo Vrije Wil? Perspectieven op een heikele kwestie (Lemniscaat), an attempt to introduce the wider audience to philosophical views on free will as a counterbalance to the one-sided views of the brain-scientists that dominate the public debate.

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