(cancelled) Seminar 3: 'Seminar on risks and dangers of “inefficient” utility machines'

This discussion seminar is part of the MPP and CBS Law seminar series on Law, Economics and Philosophy for the Fall of 2022. The seminar series is jointly organized by Professor Henrik Lando, CBS Law/MPP, Professor WSR Morten Sørensen Thanning, MPP, and External Lecturer Johan Gersel, MPP.

Tirsdag, 22 november, 2022 - 10:00 to 11:30

Title: Risks and dangers of “inefficient” utility machines: On law and economics of rational suicide from Stampe (1757) to Becker and Posner (2004)

The topic:

This presentation discusses some uncommon aspects of notions of preference, rationality, deterrence, and norm formation. It does so by asking how, or to which extent, the behavioral results of the new regulation formulated by public prosecutor general Henrik Stampe (1757) concerning the problem with melancholic homicide-suicides – despondent people killing people to be killed themselves without formally committing the sin of suicide – can be explained with use of the theories presented in Becker and Posner’s (2004) economic approach to suicide, committed by rational people assumed to ‘have “inefficient” utility machines”. Of special interest is the question regarding the kind of rationality and types of endogenous and/or exogenous preferences the suicidal subject is supposed to exercise according to this economic approach, and whether the deterrent effect of reformulating optimal law and punishment can account for the change of norms and conducts in relation to suicide towards the end of the 18th century. As it shows, these questions allows for a different discussion of some of the fundamental assumptions upon which the tradition and discipline of law and economics is based.

Henrik STAMPE [1757] “Erklæring XXVII”, in Henrik STAMPE, Erklæringer, Breve og Forestillinger General-Prokureur-Embedet vedkommende (1784), bd. 2, pp. 153-162.

Gary S. BECKER and Richard A. POSNER (2004), “Suicide: An economic approach”, Revised August 2004, https://www.gwern.net/docs/psychology/2004-becker.pdf



Marius Gudmand-Høyer, associate professor, Review editor of Foucault Studies, Fellow of Dansk Selskab for Affektive Lidelser.


Sign up here: cbs.nemtilmeld.dk.
Registration deadline: November 15, 2022, at 12 PM (CEST)

Date: November 22, 2022
Time: 10.00 am - 11.30 am 
Place: Porcelænshaven 18B, 1.154, 2000 Frederiksberg

If you wish to participate online, which provides limited opportunity for participating actively in the debate, please indicate so when registering.
For online participation click on the following link: Zoom

Sidst opdateret: CBS LAW // 21/11/2022