Dr.Santoni de Sio, Filippo

Delft University of Technology

Section: Philosophy
Faculty: Technology, Policy and Management

Filippo Santoni de Sio, philosopher
Visiting address

Jaffalaan 5, Delft Room B4.140

Mail address

Sectie Filosofie Faculteit TBM TU-Delft Postbus 5015 2600 GA Delft





I’m a philosopher. I study the problems of personal responsibility. I analyse concepts like action, capacity, and responsibility, with an interdisciplinary approach (philosophy, law, neuroscience, robotics). The general focus of my work is on the way in which the study of hard practical (legal) cases may change or complicate the traditional philosophical views on these concepts. The focus of my current research in Robot Ethics. I am currently Assistant Professor in Philosophy at TU Delft. I am also a member of the 3TU task force for ethics and robotics.

Since 2012-2014 I was engaged as a post-doc in an international and interdisciplinary NWO project entitled ‘Enhancing responsibility: the effects of cognitive enhancement on moral and legal responsibility’ . At a practical level the project addressed two questions. One, may some people, in virtue of what is at stake in the performance of their professional roles, be legitimately expected to cognitively enhance themselves – even if they would rather not do so – and would their failure to do this constitute negligence or even recklessness? Two, once a person becomes cognitively enhanced, may they be then legitimately expected to observe a higher standard of care than non cognitively enhanced counterparts, and should their breaches of such higher standards attract regulatory, civil and criminal sanctions? At a conceptual level, the project explored how the answers to these questions illuminate the virtues and limits of the capacitarian idea that responsibility tracks mental capacity.

In 2008 I obtained my PhD from the University of Turin (Italy) with a dissertation in Ethics and Philosophy of Law entitled ‘Personhood and Responsibility between Ethics and Law’. In my dissertation I tried to inquiry how legal discussion on hard cases in the attribution of responsibility may help in developing new perspectives in the philosophy of mind and action, and in the ethical theory of personal responsibility. In particular, issues related to legal insanity, automatic actions, duress and necessity, and tort law were used to illuminate and discuss philosophical problems related to personhood and mental capacities, consciousness and agency, free will, justification and excuse, and causation. In 2008 I also edited a reader on moral and legal responsibility entitled Responsabilità  e diritto (Responsibility and Law).

From late 2008 to late 2011 I worked as a Post-doc at the University of Turin on a project entitled ‘Irresistible Desires as an Excuse’. The goal of my research was to answer the problem of moral and legal responsibility of offenders affected with compulsive mental disorders or addiction. The results of this research were presented in a homonymous paper.

For a complete list of my publications and talks please see my personal webpage.

4TU.Ethics Projects

Scientific publications (selection)


  • Santoni de Sio F. & Di Nucci E. (eds.). Drones and Responsibility: Legal, Philosophical and Socio-technical Perspectives on The Use of Remotely Controlled Weapons.
  • Santoni de Sio, F., Di Nucci, E. (2014). 'Who’s Afraid of Robots? Fear of Automation and the Ideal of Direct Control'. In: Roboethics in Film. Eds. F. Battaglia F & N. Weidenfeld. Pisa: Pisa University Press.


  • Santoni de Sio F., Faulmüller N. and Vincent N.A (2014), How cognitive enhancement can change our duties. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 8:131 click to open pdf
  • Santoni de Sio F., Robichaud P., and Vincent N.A (2014), Who Should Enhance? Conceptual and Normative Dimensions of Cognitive Enhancement. Humana.Mente Jour. of Phil. Stud. 26:179-197 click to open pdf
  • Santoni de Sio, F, Robichaud, P., & Vincent, NA (2014) “Who should enhance? Conceptual and normative dimensions of cognitive enhancement”. Humana.Mente: Journal of Philosophical Studies.
  • Santoni de Sio, F. & Vincent, N.A (2014). Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will by David Hodgson. Criminal Law and Philosophy. DOI 10.1007/s11572-013-9282-1


  • Faulmüller, N., Maslen, H., Santoni de Sio, F. (2013), 'The Indirect Psychological Costs of Cognitive Enhancement', The American Journal of Bioethics 13:7, 45-47
  • Santoni de Sio, F. and Jespersen, B., "Function, roles, and human capacity", Methode: Analytic Pespectives 2:2, 58-66 available online


  • Santoni de Sio, F., Maslen, H and Faulmueller, N. (2012), "The Necessity of Objective Standards for Moral Enhancement", AJOB Neuroscience, 3:4, 15-16 available online
  • Santoni de Sio, Filippo. 2012. "Il libero arbitrio che vale la pena di volere: Daniel Dennett e il compatiblisimo contemporaneo" Rivista di Filosofia 103: 123-144. available online


  • Santoni de Sio, Filippo. 2011. "Irresistible desires as an excuse" King's Law Journal 22: 289-307. available online


  • Santoni de Sio, Filippo. 2009. "Il concetto di causa e i problemi del diritto" Cassazione penale 49: 3221-3237.


  • Santoni de Sio, Filippo. 2008. "Causalità, colpa e responsabilità: l'eredità di Hart e Honoré" Rivista di filosofia 99: 263-289. available online
  • Santoni de Sio. 2008. Responsabilità e diritto. Milano: Giuffre available online


  • Santoni de Sio, Filippo. 2007. "Carattere, merito e responsabiiltà" Rivista di Filosofia , 98: 193-214. available online
  • Santoni de Sio, Filippo. 2007. "Imputabilità: libero arbitrio o capacità?" Cassazione penale 48: 2235-2245


  • Santoni de Sio, Filippo. 2006. "Razionalità, identità, controllo: le condizioni soggettive della responsabilità"; Rivista di Filosofia 97: 33-58. available online