Roger Shiner

Adjunct Professor

Phone: 250.470.0333

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Research Summary

Philosophy of Law; criminal law, esp. as concerns corporations; freedom of expression, esp. as concerns corporations; 20th-century analytical philosophy of law

Courses & Teaching

Most recently taught Philosophy of Law, Business Ethics, Computer Ethics, Contemporary Moral Issues


Began university teaching career at the University of Alberta specializing in Ancient Philosophy and Ethics. Specialized in Philosophy of Law from mid-1970s onwards. Also began research and teaching in aesthetics around the same time. Began teaching Business Ethics in mid-1980s. Took early retirement from U of Alberta in 1966. Began part-time teaching for Okanagan University College in 2002 and subsequently for both Okanagan College and UBCO. Strong active research career throughout with much-appreciated support from SSHRCC. Finally retired from teaching in 2018.


B.A. (Honours: Classics and Philosophy), University of Cambridge
M.A. (Philosophy), University of Alberta
M.A., Ph.D. (Philosophy), University of Cambridge

Research Interests & Projects

Main current research project: The Criminalization of Corporate Wrongdoing. Holding corporations to account before the criminal law has always been controversial. Many concerns are based on economic and policy considerations. Many however are philosophical, attacking the very idea of a corporation being a criminal defendant. My research focuses on meeting these philosophical concerns and developing a positive theory as to how corporations can meet assumed norms for criminal liability. Secondary project is both historical and philosophical: the development of HLA Hart’s concept of judicial discretion. The aim is to show that indeed his views did change over his career, and that, even if his final views are open to the objections that have always been levied against them, his earlier views are not.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Legal Institutions and the Sources of Law. Dordrecht: Springer Verlag 2005.

Freedom of Commercial Expression. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2003. Pp. xxiii + 342. ISBN: 0-19-826261-2.

Norm and Nature: The movements of legal thought. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992. Clarendon Law Series. Pp. xiv + 348. ISBN 0-19-825719-8.

[with Henry Ho] “Deferred Prosecution Agreements and the Presumption of Innocence”, Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (2018) 707-723.  DOI 10.1007/s11572-018-9454-0.

`Digital Intellectual Property and the Criminal Law’, in R.A. Duff et al., eds., The Future of Criminal Law (Minneapolis: Robina Institute Publications 2014) 154-167.

`Corporations and the Presumption of Innocence’, Criminal Law and Philosophy 8 (2014): 485-503. DOI 10.1007/s11572-013-9287-9.

`Hart on Judicial Discretion’, Problema 5 (2012) 341-362

`The Normativity of Law’, in Dennis M. Patterson, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, 2nd edition (Oxford: Blackwells 2010) 417-445

`Philosophy and Literature: Friends of the Earth?’, in Garry Hagberg and Walter Jost, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy and Literature (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2010) 22-37

`Theorizing Criminal Law Reform’, Criminal Law and Philosophy 3 (2009) 167-186

` “`What Is A Crime?”: A Theory of the Legislative Response’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 12 (2009) 63-84

[with Sara Weaver]`Media Concentration, Freedom of Expression and Democracy’, Canadian Journal of Communication 33 (2008) 545-549

`The Causal Theory of Taste’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 54 (1996) 237-249. Reprinted in Babette Babich, ed., Reading David Hume’s “Of the Standard of Taste” (New York: De Gruyter 2019)

[with Guangwei Ouyang: equal authorship] `Organizations and Agency’, Legal Theory 1 (1994-95) 283-310

`Accounting Ethics: The General Part’, Business and Professional Ethics Journal 13 (1994) 9-23

`Pornography and Freedom of Speech’, in G. Maher, ed., Freedom of Speech: Its Basis and Limits. Beiheft 28, Archiv für Rechst- un Sozialphilosophie (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner 1986) 11-28

The Mental Life of a Work of Art’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 40 (1981-82) 253-68

Selected Grants & Awards

H.L.A. Hart Visiting Fellow, Centre for Ethics and Philosophy of Law, University of Oxford

SSHRCC/Law Commission of Canada: Virtual Scholar in Residence. `What Is A Crime?’ . Draft Report for Federal Parliament of Canada, submitted to Law Commission of Canada. July 2006. 180 pp.

Canada Council Killam Senior Research Fellowship

SSHRCC/Law Commission of Canada: Relationships in Transition Research Grant

1974, 1978, 1984-85, 1993-96, 1998-2001, 2004-15
SSHRCC Standard Research Grants or equivalents for a variety of projects

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

Executive Editor, APEIRON: a journal for ancient philosophy and science (1986-2001)

Editorial Board, Journal of Business Ethics (1983-2011)

Editorial Board, Legal Theory (1994-2001)

Editorial Board, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (1997-2011)

President, Canadian Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (1991-93)

Secretary-Treasurer, American Society for Aesthetics (1988-96)

Member, Executive Committee, Conference of Administrative Officers, American Council of Learned Societies (1991-94)

Trustee, American Society for Aesthetics (1984-87)


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