W&L's fall, winter, and spring weekend seminars continue to be a popular feature of the Alumni College, for the programs offer participants a substantive weekend getaway in the beautiful environs of Lexington and Rockbridge County. Participants stay in local inns, with the program, receptions, dinner, and lunch on campus. The per-person cost of each of these programs is $195. Programs begin on Friday afternoon and conclude after lunch on Saturday.
Established in 2000 at Washington and Lee by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor includes an array of initiatives and specific programs designed to promote the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. The Institute for Honor Symposium is dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business, and community relations.
This year's symposium will focus on neuroscience and the legal system--especially the issues of culpability and the impact of neuroscientific testimony on legal judgment. We are learning more every day about the human brain, its genetics, its limits, and about how brain malfunction can lead to drastically altered, even criminal behavior. What influence should this new information have on our legal system? Should sentencing and systems of rehabilitation be governed, at least in part, by neuroscience? Friday keynotes by Tyler Lorig, chair of W&L's neuroscience program and National Academy of Sciences member Michael Gazzaniga, author of several popular books including The Ethical Brain and Director of UC-Santa Barbara's SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, will survey recent discoveries in understanding brain function. They will also raise questions concerning how these discoveries challenge conventional notions of human motivation and self-awareness. On Saturday morning, the Hon. Jed S. Rakoff, Judge, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and David Caudill, professor of law at Villanova University Law School, will discuss the implications and challenges within our legal system of these new discoveries.
Questions abound: Can neuroscience help us predict criminal behavior by an individual? If so, are we not obligated as a society to prevent such behavior by therapies or monitoring? How do rights to privacy impinge on society's awareness of neurological disorders among its citizens? Has the insanity defense been strengthened by more sophisticated assessment and analysis of brain abnormality? Has this new information changed the legal definition of guilt? As the courts attempt to establish new standards for admitting neuroscientific evidence, we face a familiar question: are our values keeping pace with new technology?