Marko Jurjako

Associate Professor

Department of Philosophy

University of Rijeka


Neuroethics and philosophy of psychopathy

I mainly work in the area of philosophy of psychopathy. Here, we investigate the following questions: Are psychopaths morally and/or criminally responsible for their wrongful actions? Are psychopaths mentally disordered? Are psychopaths rational? What would be an appropriate societal response to problems caused by psychopaths? Answering these questions requires, on the one hand, acquaintance with the neuropsychological studies investigating the bio-cognitive profiles of individuals with psychopathy, and on the other hand, knowledge of the relevant legal and moral frameworks that apply to these cases. Moreover, an appropriate solution to these issues requires thinking about how to translate neuropsychological studies and bio-cognitive constructs they presuppose into the common-sense psychological vocabulary that is presupposed by our ordinary moral and legal practices.

Foundations of cognitive science

A second, and related, research area I am working in concerns general problem of how to integrate common-sense psychological constructs with their supposed counterparts in cognitive science. This is a foundational problem in philosophy of psychology and cognitive science and stems from the fact that the nature of the mind can be investigated at multiple levels of description. To specify the general function of the mind, we need to start with the top level where we talk about the explanation and prediction of the behaviour of a person as a whole. This level of description is couched in the vocabulary of commonsense psychology. Cognitive (neuro)sciences offer explanations at the subpersonal levels where the commonsense psychological constructs are replaced by concepts referring to causal mechanisms, their parts, and relations such as neurons, electrical discharges, and so forth. Here, the challenge is to find an appropriate bridge principle that would enable us to integrate the commonsense psychological explanations characterizing the personal level with (neuro)scientific explanations characterizing the subpersonal levels of functioning.

Metaethics and moral psychology

Metaethics is a philosophical discipline that investigates the nature of morality, moral concepts, and the psychological underpinnings of moral practices. Here, I am interested in questions how the normativity of morality (the fact that it tells us what is permissible, impermissible, and what we ought to do) can be reconciled with a naturalistic (essentially non-normative) picture of the world as revealed by science. In fact, my interests in foundational and applied issues in cognitive science and psychopathy are grounded in these metaethical questions about what the nature of moral/normative thought is and whether it can be grounded in psychological/cognitive facts about human beings.

Since 2022

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Croatia

2017 - 2022

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Croatia

2015 – 2017

Research Associate, Project CEASCRO, Department of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Croatia

2010 – 2016

PhD in Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Croatia

2009 – 2010

MA in Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary (at that time Cognitive Science was part of the Philosophy Department)

2004 – 2009

BA in Philosophy and History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka, Croatia

I have supervised 2 Masters students (Mladen Bošnjak and Ivana Jerolimov) and 1 undergraduate student thesis (Nina Medanić). Currently I am supervising 2 PhD students (Dino Jelčić, independent researcher and Mladen Bošnjak, currently Research Assistant at the Department of Philosophy in Rijeka) and co-supervising 1 PhD student (Mia Biturajac, currently Research Assistant at the Department of Philosophy in Rijeka).

  • 2023-2027 PI of the project "Theoretical investigations at the intersection of philosophy of psychology and social practices (TIPPS, grant IP-2022-10)".

  • 2022 Two-month scholarship from the Austrian Academy of Science’s Joint Excellence in Science and Humanities (JESH) program–to be realized at the University of Graz in the fall semester of 2021/2022.

  • 2018 Winner of the Republic of Croatia state award for science in the category “Early career researchers in the Humanities”.

  • 2014 Two-month research visit at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for evolutionary and theoretical biology, Klosterneuburg, Austria.

  • 2009-2010 Full scholarship for one-year master in philosophy program at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary