This essay on law and religion appears in the second edition of the Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, edited by Dennis Patterson. It is a revision of a similar entry in the book’s first edition. The essay opens by broadly discussing the complex relationships between law and religion writ large as movements in human history – social, cultural, intellectual, and institutional phenomena with distinct but often overlapping logics and concerns. It then hones in on the efforts (...) of secular law to make sense of religion and determine its place in the civil state. The essay argues that, while the questions raised by the American Bill of Rights’ religion clauses connect in some important respects to broader constitutional principles such as free expression and equality, the most interesting and theoretically excruciating conundrums involving religion need to be approached on their own unique terms. Two useful rubrics for such understanding are “separation” and “deference.” Any honest account must also admit, however, that there is an “intractable residue,” questions in the relation of religion and law to which there simply is no determinate or completely satisfactory answer. Finally, the essay emphasizes that the full texture of the legal imagination’s effort to grapple with religion only becomes apparent in the wider range of subconstitutional and nonconstitutional contexts beyond the standard litany of constitutional discourse. (shrink)
There seems to be no clear consensus in the existing literature about the role of deontic logic in legal knowledge representation — in large part, we argue, because of an apparent misunderstanding of what deontic logic is, and a misplaced preoccupation with the surface formulation of legislative texts. Our aim in this paper is to indicate, first, which aspects of legal reasoning are addressed by deontic logic, and then to sketch out the beginnings of a methodology for its use (...) in the analysis and representation of law.The essential point for which we argue is that deontic logic — in some form or other —needs to be taken seriously whenever it is necessary to make explicit, and then reason about, the distinction between what ought to be the case and what is the case, or as we also say, between the ideal and the actual. We take the library regulations at Imperial College as the main illustration, and small examples from genuinely legal domains to introduce specific points. In conclusion, we touch on the role of deontic logic in the development of the theory of normative positions. (shrink)
In the 225 years since the United States Constitution was first drafted, no single book has addressed the key questions of what constitutions are designed to do, how they are structured, and why they matter. In From Words to Worlds, constitutional scholar Beau Breslin corrects this glaring oversight, singling out the essential functions that a modern, written constitution must incorporate in order to serve as a nation's fundamental law. Breslin lays out and explains the basic functions of a modern (...) constitution -- including creating a new citizenry, structuring the institutions of government, regulating conflict between layers and branches of government, and limiting the power of the sovereign. He also moves into the esoteric, discussing the theoretical concepts behind the fundamentals of written constitutions and examining in-depth some of the most important constitutional charters from around the world. In assaying how states put the structural ideas into practice, Breslin asks probing questions about why -- and if -- constitutions matter. His answer is a resounding yes. Solidly argued and engagingly written, this comparative study in constitutional thought demonstrates clearly the key components that a state's foundational document must address. In doing so, Breslin draws a critically important distinction between constitutional texts and constitutional practice. (shrink)
The article examines Hans Kelsen's and Carl Schmitt's lines of thought concerning the relationship between constitutional and international law, with the aim of ascertaining their respective ability to capture developments affecting that relationship, even those of a contradictory nature. It is significant that, while the rise of wars of humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era has evoked Schmitt's concept of the bellum iustum, the evolution in the direction of the “constitutionalisation of international law” has drawn attention to Kelsen's (...) theoretical approach. However, these assumptions rely heavily on the opposing objectives that the two authors claimed to pursue, such as, respectively, the search for the ultimate seat of political power and a pure theory of law. Things are more complicated, both because these objectives by no means exhaust Kelsen's and Schmitt's lines of thought, and because the conception of sovereignty as omnipotence, at the core of the Weimar controversy, is now behind us. (shrink)
Alison L. LaCroix is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where she specializes in legal history, federalism, constitutional law and questions of jurisdiction. She has written a fine, scholarly volume on the intellectual origins of American federalism. LaCroix holds the JD degree (Yale, 1999) and a Ph.D. in history (Harvard, 2007). According to the author, to fully understand the origins of American federalism, we must look beyond the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and range (...) over the colonial, revolutionary, and founding periods including developments in the early republic. LaCroix questions both the idea that American federalism originated, all at once, at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the idea that republican ideology (with its strong emphasis on legislative power) was the single dominant framework of eighteenth-century American political thought. Versions and elements of federalist or con-federative ideas were also long present and in a process of development. (shrink)
Maurice Hauriou (1856-1929) -- Methodology -- Hauriou's general methodology -- Legal methodology -- Sociological methodolgy -- Methodological interplay of law and social science -- Application of methodology to large groups -- Philosophical methodology -- The philosophical status of Hauriou's methodology.
This essay proposes a theory of excuse that, without blending it into exculpation, avoids the condonation of crime. The question it takes up is: given that neither compulsion by circumstances nor by human threats removes the legal reason for punishing, how can its exonerating force be rendered compatible with the stateâs general duty to punish the guilty? The chapter criticizes various proposals for reconciling excuse with the duty to punish the guilty, including the moral involuntariness theory, the concession to frailty (...) theory, and the conformity to moral expectation theory. It then proposes a solution: moral blamelessness exonerates because it simulates the conditions for legal exculpation. Just as the exculpated actor acknowledges the legal norm of mutual respect for agents, so does the excused actor acknowledge the public reason of the self-sufficient political community of which the legal norm is a part. The author argues that this theory would excuse the altruistic no less than the self-preferring murderer. (shrink)
Through an analysis of the US Supreme Court's case Heller this paper argues that legal process can be pragmatically reconceptualized so as to create information necessary to decide complex social issues. This is in contrast to other more standard conceptions of law as more emphasizing what information ought to be excluded.
This paper deals with the particularities of vagueness in law. Thereby the question of the law’s capacity for vagueness is closely related to the question of the impact of vagueness in law, since exaggerated vagueness combined with the elasticity of legal interpretation methodology may affect the constitutional principles of legal certainty, the division of powers, and the binding force of statute. To represent vagueness and the instability of legal concepts and rules, a Hyperbola of Meaning is introduced, opposing (...) Heck’s metaphor of a core and a periphery of meaning. Furthermore, evidence is provided that the use of vague legal concepts and the capability of legal methodology to affect the specific meaning of those concepts, may give rise to astonishing and irrational changes of meaning of the law. Finally the paper sets out in search of an added value of vagueness in law, and weighs several stated pros and contras of vagueness. The paper is written against a background of the German speaking realm. (shrink)
Logical paradoxes in the strict sense produce statements like those of the Liar ("This very statement is false") that are false if true, and true if false. They resist rational solution or at least divide logicians for centuries of apparently irreconcilable wrangling. What happens when similar paradoxes arise in law?
Rights have become,in recent years, a significant concern of legal theorists, as well as of those involved in moral and political philosophy. This new book seeks to move a number of debates forward by developing the analysis of rights and focusing upon more general theoretical considerations relating to rights. The book is divided into five parts. The first includes an explanation of the part played by conceptual analysis within jurisprudence, while the second conducts a re-examination of Hohfeld’s analysis of rights. (...) This part deals with the arguments advanced by a number of modern theorists including Hart, White and MacCormick. The third part contains the author’s own framework for discussing rights, including examples drawn from tort, constitutional law and international law, together with an analysis of Unger’s theory of rights. Part four centres on the perceived conflict between Dworkin, Rawls and Nozick as the defenders of a rights approach, and Bentham as the champion of utilitarianism and concludes that neither deals with the fundamental concerns of morality on which their theories are based. The fifth part consists of a conclusion which reflects on the key themes and considers the role of rights within general theory. For students, particularly helpful features of the book are the overt consideration of jurisprudential methodology and the opportunity to examine a number of key theorists linked by their divergent views on the subject of rights. (shrink)
Can there be a theory of law? -- Two views of the nature of the theory of law : a partial comparison -- On the nature of law -- The problem of authority : revisiting the service conception -- About morality and the nature of law -- Incorporation by law -- Reasoning with rules -- Why interpret? -- Interpretation without retrieval -- Intention in interpretation -- Interpretation : pluralism and innovation -- On the authority and interpretation of constitutions : some (...) preliminaries -- Postema on law's autonomy and public practical reasons : a critical comment. (shrink)
This book aims to distil the essentials of liberal constitutionalism from the jurisprudence and practice of contemporary liberal-democratic states. Most constitutional theorists have despaired of a liberal consensus on the fundamental goals of constitutional order. Instead they have contented themselves either with agreement on lower-level principles on which those who disagree on fundamentals may coincidentally converge, or, alternatively with a process for translating fundamental disgreement into acceptable laws. Alan Brudner suggests a conception of fundamental justice that liberals of (...) competing philosophic schools may accept as fulfilling their own basic commitments. He argues that the model liberal-democratic constitution is best understood as a unity of three constitutional frameworks: libertarian, egalitarian, and communitarian. Each of these has a particular conception of public reason. Brudner criticizes each of these frameworks insofar as its organizing conception claims to be fundamental, and moves forward to suggest an Hegelian conception of public reason within which each framework is contained as a constituent element of a whole. When viewed in this light, the liberal constitution embodies a surprising synthesis. It reconciles a commitment to individual liberty and freedom of conscience with the perfectionist idea that the state ought to cultivate a type of personality whose fundamental ends are the goods essential to dignity. Such a reconciliation, the author suggests, may attract competing liberalisms to a consensus on an inclusive conception of public reason under which political authority is validated for those who share a confidence in the individual's inviolable worth. (shrink)
The philosophical and natural law basis of the American order: remote and immediate ancestors -- The declaration and its constitution: linking first principle to necessary means -- A structurally-divided, but workable, government -- A limited government of enumerated power -- A government mindful of dual sovereignty -- A fair government -- A government commitment to freedom -- A government commitment to equality -- A government of imperfect knowledge of inkblots, liberty and life itself.
John Rawls’s political liberalism and its ideal of public reason are tremendously influential in contemporary political philosophy and in constitutional law as well. Many, perhaps even most, liberals are Rawlsians of one stripe or another. This is problematic, because most liberals also support the redefinition of civil marriage to include same-sex unions, and as I show, Rawls’s political liberalism actually prohibits same- sex marriage. Recently in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, however, California’s northern federal district court reinterpreted the traditional rational basis (...) review in terms of liberal neutrality akin to Rawls’s “public reason,” and overturned Proposition 8 and established same-sex marriage. (This reinterpretation was amplified in the 9th Circuit Court’s decision upholding the district court on appeal in Perry v. Brown.) But on its own grounds Perry should have drawn the opposite conclusion. This is because all the available arguments for recognizing same-sex unions as civil marriages stem from controversial comprehensive doctrines about the good, and this violates the ideal of public reason; yet there remains a publicly reasonable argument for traditional marriage, which I sketch here. In the course of my argument I develop Rawls’s politically liberal account of the family by drawing upon work by J. David Velleman and H. L. A. Hart, and discuss the implications of this account for political theory and constitutional law. (shrink)
This is the second volume in a sub-series of specially commissioned collaborative volumes on key topics at the heart of contemporary philosophy of law that will be appearing regularly within Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Law. A distinguished international team of legal theorists examine the issue of constitutionalism and pose such foundational questions as: why have a constitution? How do we know what the constitution of a country really is? How should a constitution be interpreted? Why should one generation feel (...) bound by the constitution of an earlier one? The volume will be of particular importance to those in philosophy, law, political science and international relations interested in what kinds of constitutions should be adopted in countries without them, and involved in debates about constitutional interpretation. (shrink)
The constitutional subject : singular, plural or universal? -- The constitutional subject and the clash of self and other : on the uses of negation, metaphor, and metonymy -- Reinventing tradition through constitutional interpretation : the case of unenumerated rights in the United States -- Recasting and reorienting identity through constitution-making : the pivotal case of Spain's 1978 Constitution -- Constitutional models : shaping, nurturing, and guiding the constitutional subject -- Models of constitution making -- (...) The constitutional subject and clashing visions of citizenship : can we be beyond what we are not? -- Can the constitutional subject go global? imagining a convergence of the universal, the particular, and the singular. (shrink)
The conundrum of the unconstitutional constitution -- The quest for a compelling unity -- The permeability of constitutional borders -- The sounds of silence : militant and acquiescent constitutionalism -- "The first page of the constitution" : family, state, and identity.
This book explores two basic questions regarding constitutional theory. First, in view of a commitment to democratic self-rule and widespread disagreement on questions of value, how is the creation of a legitimate constitutional regime possible? Second, what must be true about a constitution if the regime that it supports is to retain its claim to legitimacy? Howard Schweber shows that the answers to these questions appear in a theory of constitutional language that combines democratic theory with (...) class='Hi'>constitutional philosophy. The creation of a legitimate constitutional regime depends on a shared commitment to a particular and specialized form of language. Out of this simple observation, Schweber develops arguments about the characteristics of constitutional language, the necessary differences between constitutional language and the language of ordinary law or morality, as well as the authority of officials such as judges to engage in constitutional review of laws. (shrink)
Recent work in artificial intelligence has increasingly turned to argumentation as a rich, interdisciplinary area of research that can provide new methods related to evidence and reasoning in the area of law. Douglas Walton provides an introduction to basic concepts, tools and methods in argumentation theory and artificial intelligence as applied to the analysis and evaluation of witness testimony. He shows how witness testimony is by its nature inherently fallible and sometimes subject to disastrous failures. At the same time such (...) testimony can provide evidence that is not only necessary but inherently reasonable for logically guiding legal experts to accept or reject a claim. Walton shows how to overcome the traditional disdain for witness testimony as a type of evidence shown by logical positivists, and the views of trial sceptics who doubt that trial rules deal with witness testimony in a way that yields a rational decision-making process. (shrink)
Cognitive science is transforming our understanding of the mind. New discoveries are changing how we comprehend not just language, but thought itself. Yet, surprisingly little of the new learning has penetrated discussions and analysis of the most important social institution affecting our lives-the law. Drawing on work in philosophy, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, and literary theory, Steven L. Winter has created nothing less than a tour de force of interdisciplinary analysis. (...) class='Hi'> A Clearing in the Forest rests on the simple notion that the better we understand the workings of the mind, the better we will understand all its products-especially law. Legal studies today focus on analytic skills and grand normative theories. But, to understand how real-world, legal actors reason and decide, we need a different set of tools. Cognitive science provides those tools, opening a window on the imaginative, yet orderly mental processes that animate thinking and decisionmaking among lawyers, judges, and lay persons alike. Recent findings about how humans actually categorize and reason make it possible to explain legal reasoning in new, more cogent, more productive ways. A Clearing in the Forest is a compelling meditation on both how the law works and what it all means. In uncovering the irrepressibly imaginative, creative quality of human reason, Winter shows how what we are learning about the mind changes not only our understanding of law, but ultimately of ourselves. He charts a unique course to understanding the world we inhabit, showing us the way to the clearing in the forest. (shrink)
Law and morality : constructs and models -- The morality of cognition : the normativity of ordinary reasoning -- Law in action : a praxeological approach to law and justice -- Law in context : legal activity and the institutional context -- Procedural constraint : sequentiality, routine, and formal correctness -- Legal relevance : the production of factuality and legality -- From law in the books to law in action : egyptian criminal law between doctrine, case law, jurisprudence, and practice (...) -- The natural person : the contingent and contextual production of legal personality -- The production of causality : a praxeological grammar of the use of causal concepts -- Intention in action : the teleological orientation of the parties to criminal cases -- Morality on trial : structure and intelligibility of the court sentence -- Questions of morality : sequential, structured organization of the interrogation -- The categories of morality : homosexuality between perversion and debauchery. (shrink)
This book comprises essays in law and legal theory celebrating the life and work of Jim Harris. The topics addressed reflect the wide range of Harris's work, and the depth of his influence on legal studies. They include the nature of law and legal reasoning, rival theories of property rights and their impact on practical questions before the courts; the nature of precedent in legal argument; and the evolving concept of human rights and its place in legal discourse.
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction; 2. Peace; 3. Rule of law; 4. Human rights; 5. Democracy; 6. Liberty; 7. The institutional ethos of the EU; 8. Towards the EU as a just institution; 9. Concluding proposals.
I argue that there is methodological space for a functional explanation of the nature of law that does not commit the theorist to a view about the value of that function for society, nor whether law is the best means of accomplishing it. A functional explanation will nonetheless provide a conceptual framework for a better understanding of the nature of law. First I examine the proper role for function in a theory of law and then argue for the possibility of (...) a neutral functional theory, addressing issues raised by Leslie Green, Stephen Perry, Michael Moore and John Finnis. (shrink)
This book discusses theories of legal reasoning and provides an overall view of the rhetoric of legal justification. It shows how and why lawyers arguments can be rationally persuasive even though rarely, if ever, logically conclusive or compelling. It examines the role of "legal syllogism" and universality of legal reasoning, looking at arguments of consequentialism and principle, and concludes by questioning the infallibility of judges as lawmakers.
The Postscript to 'The Concept of Law' contains Herbert Hart's only sustained and considered response to the objections made by his distinguished critic, Ronald Dworkin. In this extraordinary collection, an array of leading legal philosophers evaluates the success of Hart's response to Dworkin.
The Concept of Law is the most important and original work of legal philosophy written this century. First published in 1961, it is considered the masterpiece of H.L.A. Hart's enormous contribution to the study of jurisprudence and legal philosophy. Its elegant language and balanced arguments have sparked wide debate and unprecedented growth in the quantity and quality of scholarship in this area--much of it devoted to attacking or defending Hart's theories. Principal among Hart's critics is renowned lawyer and political philosopher (...) Ronald Dworkin who in the 1970s and 80s mounted a series of challenges to Hart's Concept of Law. It seemed that Hart let these challenges go unanswered until, after his death in 1992, his answer to Dworkin's criticism was discovered among his papers. In this valuable and long-awaited new edition Hart presents an Epilogue in which he answers Dworkin and some of his other most influential critics including Fuller and Finnis. Written with the same clarity and candor for which the first edition is famous, the Epilogue offers a sharper interpretation of Hart's own views, rebuffs the arguments of critics like Dworkin, and powerfully asserts that they have based their criticisms on a faulty understanding of Hart's work. Hart demonstrates that Dworkin's views are in fact strikingly similar to his own. In a final analysis, Hart's response leaves Dworkin's criticisms considerably weakened and his positions largely in question. Containing Hart's final and powerful response to Dworkin in addition to the revised text of the original Concept of Law, this thought-provoking and persuasively argued volume is essential reading for lawyers and philosophers throughout the world. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to consider some aspects of the question of how difficult it should be to amend or change constitutional laws through formal amendment procedures. The point of departure of my discussion is an amendment procedure that has recently been suggested by the prominent legal and political philosopher Bruce Ackerman. He defends a three-step amendment procedure – where a re-elected president is authorised to propose amendments that must thereafter be approved first by a two-thirds majority (...) of the legislature, and then by a simple majority of the citizens at the next two presidential elections. I propose and defend an alternative amendment procedure that can be termed the four-step procedure. According to this procedure, the right to propose amendments is granted both to legislators and voters via citizen initiatives. Thereafter, the proposed amendments should be placed before the legislature, where they must be approved by a simple majority in two successive parliaments, and there must be an interval of no less than one year between the two votes. If passed by the legislative assembly, the amendment(s) should be approved by a simple majority of the electorate in a referendum. However, a submajority of the legislators (i.e. a one-third minority) should be empowered to require an additional referendum on the proposed amendment(s), and this final referendum should be held two years after the first popular vote. In order to assess the outlined amendment procedures, I primarily focus on the following factors or criteria of evaluation, which I group under three headings: (1) Central ideas and ideals in deliberative democratic theory and the fact of persistent disagreement in modern pluralist societies (this includes considerations of how well alternative amendment procedures deal with disagreement among citizens); (2) rule of law values, stability and flexibility; and (3) the value of checks and balances that can guard against the abuse of power (or more precisely, whether the amendment procedures under consideration provide adequate checks and balances between courts, political actors and citizens). (shrink)
This book addresses three major questions about law and legal systems: (1) What are the defining and organizing forms of legal institutions, legal rules, interpretive methodologies, and other legal phenomena? (2) How does frontal and systematic focus on these forms advance understanding of such phenomena? (3) What credit should the functions of forms have when such phenomena serve policy and related purposes, rule of law values, and fundamental political values such as democracy, liberty, and justice? This is the first book (...) that seeks to offer general answers to these questions and thus gives form in the law its due. The answers not only provide articulate conversancy with the subject but also reveal insights into the nature of law itself, the oldest and foremost problem in legal theory and allied subjects. (shrink)
Since constitutional arrangements are what make politics work, they are a central concern of political theory._This book, now completely updated, is the first comprehensive exploration of the political theory of constitutions. Jan-Erik Lane begins by examining the origins and history of constitutionalism and answers key questions such as: What is a constitution? Why are there constitutions? From where does constitutionalism originate? How is the constitutional state related to democracy and justice? Constitutions play a major role in domestic and (...) international politics in the early 21st century and an updated version of this classic textbook will introduce students to a number of different areas -- theoretical, empirical, and moral -- which will aid their understanding of this important topic. (shrink)
This paper, originally written for a conference on criminal law in times of emergency, considers the implications of the â€˜German Airliner caseâ€™ for criminal law theory. In that case, the German constitutional court struck down as unconstitutional a law empowering state officials to order the shooting down of a hijacked plane on the grounds that the state could not order the killing of innocent civilians. Some have argued that despite this ruling, individual officials should still be entitled to claim (...) a criminal law justification defence. I argue that the nature of justification defences necessarily ties them to the powers of the state to engage in such activity. I also argue that both the constitutional decision and its criminal law implications are salutary. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is that of discussing some recent antipositivist theses, with specific reference to the arguments that focus on the alleged incapability of legal positivism to understand and explain the complex normative structure of constitutional states. One of the central tenets of legal positivism (in its guise of ``methodological'' or ``conceptual'' positivism) is the theory of the separation between law and morality. On the assumption that in contemporary legal systems, constitutional law represents a point of (...) intersection between law and basic moral values, antipositivists contrast legal positivism with two main arguments. First, on a more general level, the positivist theory of the separation between law and morality is questioned; then, and consequently, the ``neutrality thesis'' in the juristic study of law is rejected. The author discusses both these antipositivist arguments, and offers a brief defence of methodological positivism. (shrink)
How can there be rights in law? We learn from moral philosophy that rights protect persons in a special way because they have peremptory force. But how can this aspect of practical reason be captured by the law? For many leading legal philosophers the legal order is constructed on the foundations of factual sources and with materials provided by technical argument. For this 'legal positivist' school of jurisprudence, the law endorses rights by some official act suitably communicated. But how can (...) any such legal enactment recreate the proper force of rights? Rights take their meaning and importance from moral reflection, which only expresses itself in practical reasoning. This puzzle about rights invites a reconsideration of the nature and methods of legal doctrine and of jurisprudence itself. Legal Rights argues that the theory of law and legal concepts is a project of moral and political philosophy, the best account of which is to be found in the social contract tradition. It outlines an argument according to which legal rights can be justified before equal citizens under the constraints of public reason. The place of rights in law is explained by the unique position of law as an essential component of the civil condition and a necessary condition for freedom.
History and theory -- Descriptions and constructions -- The practical argument -- Rights in law -- Obligation and permission -- Legal relations -- The right to property -- Freedom through law -- Rights in legal deliberation.
This Major Reference series brings together a wide range of key international articles in law and legal theory. Many of these essays are not readily accessible, and their presentation in these volumes will provide a vital new resource for both research and teaching. Each volume is edited by leading international authorities who explain the significance and context of articles in an informative and complete introduction.