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Prof. Stephen J. Morse to receive prestigious Isaac Ray Award

January 09, 2014

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to forensic psychiatry and the psychiatric aspects of jurisprudence, Penn Law Professor Stephen J. Morse has been selected to receive the Isaac Ray Award of the American Psychiatric Association. 

The award, one of the highest honors in its field, is scheduled to be presented at the Association’s 167th annual meeting May 3-7 in New York.   His award lecture will address why neuroscience does not pose a fundamental challenge to the traditional practice of forensic psychiatry and psychology.

Morse, who joined the Penn Law faculty in 1988, is the Ferdinand Wakeman Hubbell Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology and Law in Psychiatry. He is also the associate director of the Penn Center for Neuroscience & Society.  Dr. Morse is a Diplomate in Forensic Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology.

“This recognition of Professor Morse’s path-breaking scholarship is richly deserved,” said Law School Dean Michael A. Fitts. “For decades, his work has generated important insights into issues at the intersection of criminal law and psychology.”

Morse has an international reputation for his work on problems of individual responsibility and agency and the intersection of law and neuroscience.  He teaches courses on criminal law, mental health law, freedom and responsibility, and perspectives on cognitive neuroscience.

A prolific author and leading authority on forensic psychology and psychiatry, he has published numerous interdisciplinary articles and chapters and has co-edited collections, including A Primer on Criminal Law and Neuroscience and Foundations of Criminal Law.

Morse was a contributing author to Crime and Culpability: A Theory of Criminal Law and is working on a new book, Desert and Disease: Responsibility and Social Control.

Before joining the Penn Law faculty, Morse taught at the University of Southern California, where he was Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences. He has served as co-director of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project and is currently a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Law & Neuroscience.

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the world’s largest psychiatric organization, representing more than 33,000 psychiatric physicians from the United States and around the world. The Isaac Ray award was established to honor one of the Association’s original founders and its fourth president, who was one of the founders of the discipline of forensic psychiatry.

Morse previously won the American Academy of Forensic Psychology’s Distinguished Contribution Award.