Professor Tobia’s teaching and scholarship are motivated by a tension between two views of the law. On the first view, law is a system of experts, founded upon knowledge of specialized concepts: dicta, habeas corpus, parol evidence, strict liability. Law students learn these new concepts; treatises and restatements clarify these concepts’ features; and legal scholars debate how these concepts should apply and evolve. On a radically different view, law’s most central concepts are actually ordinary ones. Lay juries regularly evaluate familiar questions like: did he act reasonably; was her act intentional; what caused the outcome; was the agreement formed with consent; what was their motive? Using methods from philosophy, cognitive science, and linguistics, Professor Tobia’s research examines the features of central legal concepts, with the overarching aim of clarifying the relationship between law and the people it governs.
Prof. Tobia received a B.A., summa cum laude, in Philosophy, Mathematics, and Cognitive Science from Rutgers University; a B.Phil. with distinction from Oxford as an Ertegun Scholar; and a J.D. and Ph.D. with distinction from Yale, as an Articles Editor of the Yale Law Journal, Coker Teaching Fellow in Torts, and Prize Teaching Fellow in Philosophy. Kevin’s scholarship has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and journals of philosophy and cognitive science (e.g. Analysis; Mind & Language; Cognitive Science) and has been awarded Yale Law School’s Felix S. Cohen prize for legal philosophy and the AALS Section on Jurisprudence “Future Promise Award” for scholarship in legal philosophy.
Professor Tobia teaches in Torts and Section 3’s Legal Justice Seminar at Georgetown and has previously taught Legal Philosophy at Oxford and assisted in the instruction of courses in Contracts, Torts, Health Law & Bioethics, and Law & Economics. Professor Tobia frequently collaborates with scholars from Georgetown and abroad, as a Research Affiliate with the ETH Zurich Center for Law & Economics and collaborator in the Experimental Jurisprudence Cross-Cultural Study exchange.
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Corpus linguistics has recently emerged as a method for addressing problems in the legal/textualist interpretation....