Understanding human beings and their distinctive rational and volitional capacities is one of the central tasks of philosophy. The task requires a clear account of such things as reasons, desires, emotions and motives, and of how they combine to produce and explain human behaviour. In Kinds of Reasons, Maria Alvarez offers a fresh and incisive treatment of these issues, focusing in particular on reasons as they feature in contexts of agency. Her account builds on some important recent work in the (...) area; but she takes her main inspiration from the tradition that receives its seminal contemporary expression in the writings of G.E.M. Anscombe, a tradition that runs counter to the broadly Humean orthodoxy that has dominated the theory of action for the past forty years. Alvarez's conclusions are therefore likely to be controversial; and her bold and painstaking arguments will be found provocative by participants on every side of the debates with which she engages. Clear and directly written, Kinds of Reasons aims to stake out a distinctive position within one of the most hotly contested areas of contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
In 1969 Harry Frankfurt published his hugely influential paper 'Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility' in which he claimed to present a counterexample to the so-called 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities' ('a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise'). The success of Frankfurt-style cases as counterexamples to the Principle has been much debated since. I present an objection to these cases that, in questioning their conceptual cogency, undercuts many of those debates. Such cases (...) all require a counterfactual mechanism that could cause an agent to perform an action that he cannot avoid performing. I argue that, given our concept of what it is for someone to act, this requirement is inconsistent. Frankfurt-style alleged counterexamples are cases where an agent is morally responsible for an action he performs even though, the claim goes, he could not have avoided performing that action. However, it has recently been argued, e.g. by John Fischer, that a counterexample to the Principle could be a 'Fischer-style case', i.e. a case where the agent can either perform the action or do nothing else. I argue that, although Fischer-style cases do not share the conceptual flaw common to all Frankfurt-style cases, they also fail as counterexamples to the Principle. The paper finishes with a brief discussion of the significance of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. (shrink)
Reasons can play a variety of roles in a variety of contexts. For instance, reasons can motivate and guide us in our actions (and omissions), in the sense that we often act in the light of reasons. And reasons can be grounds for beliefs, desires and emotions and can be used to evaluate, and sometimes to justify, all these. In addition, reasons are used in explanations: both in explanations of human actions, beliefs, desires, emotions, etc., and in explanations of a (...) wide range of phenomena involving all sorts of animate and inanimate substances. This diversity has encouraged the thought that the term 'reason' is ambiguous or has different senses in different contexts. Moreover, this view often goes hand in hand with the claim that reasons of these different kinds belong to different ontological categories: to facts (or something similar) in the case of normative/justifying reasons, and to mental states in the case of motivating/explanatory reasons. In this paper I shall explore some of the main roles that reasons play and, on that basis, I shall offer a classification of kinds of reasons. As will become clear, my classification of reasons is at odds with much of the literature in several respects: first, because of my views about how we should understand the claim that reasons are classified into different kinds; second, because of the kinds into which I think reasons should be classified; and, finally, because of the consequences I think this view has for the ontology of reasons. (shrink)
This paper seeks a better understanding of the elements of practical reasoning: premises and conclusion. It argues that the premises of practical reasoning do not normally include statements such as ‘I want to ϕ’; that the reasoning in practical reasoning is the same as in theoretical reasoning and that what makes it practical is, first, that the point of the relevant reasoning is given by the goal that the reasoner seeks to realize by means of that reasoning and the subsequent (...) action; second, that the premises of such reasoning show the goodness of the action to be undertaken; third, that the conclusions of such reasoning may be actions or decisions, that can be accompanied by expressions of intention, either in action, or for the future; and that these are justified, and might be contradicted, in ways that are not only peculiar to them (i.e. in ways that diverge from those found in theoretical reasoning), but are distinctively practical, in that they involve reference to reasons for acting and to expressions of intention, respectively.1. (shrink)
In the past thirty years or so, the doctrine that actions are events has become an essential, and sometimes unargued, part of the received view in the philosophy of action, despite the efforts of a few philosophers to undermine the consensus. For example, the entry for Agency in a recently published reference guide to the philosophy of mind begins with the following sentence: A central task in the philosophy of action is that of spelling out the differences between events in (...) general and those events that fall squarely into the category of human action. There is no consensus about what events are. But it is generally agreed that, whatever events may prove to be, actions are a species or a class of events. We believe that the received view is mistaken: actions are not events. We concede that for most purposes, the kind of categorial refinement which is involved in either affirming or denying that actions are events is frankly otiose. Our common idiom does not stress the difference between actions and events, at least not in general terms, because it has no need to. Perhaps it sounds a little odd to say that some events are performed; but if we balked at describing, say, the abdication of Edward VIII as one of the politically significant events in Britain in 1936, it could not be for metaphysical reasons. And since actions, like events, are datable — though often, as we shall see, only imprecisely — actions are said to take place and to occur. But an important class of actions consist in moving something; indeed, according to many philosophers, every action consists in moving something. And when we consider actions of this sort from a theoretical point of view it becomes imperative to distinguish between actions and events. Or so we shall argue. (shrink)
This paper explores the question whether whatever is done intentionally is done for a reason. Apart from helping us to think about those concepts, the question is interesting because it affords an opportunity to identify a number of misconceptions about reasons. In the paper I argue that there are things that are done intentionally but not done for a reason. I examine two different kinds of example: things done “because one wants to” and “purely expressive actions”. Concerning the first, I (...) argue that the tendency to think that things done because one wants to are things done for a reason derives from conflating the reason that explains why someone did something with their reason for doing it. While these sometimes coincide, they need not always do so. And although the fact that someone wanted to do something can contribute to explaining the person's action, it is not normally that person's reason for doing that thing. Purely expressive actions also provide examples of things done intentionally but not for a reason. I argue that, although those actions are spontaneous, they are nonetheless intentional and that, since they are mere expressions of emotions, they are not done for reasons - although there are reasons why we do them. (shrink)
Two conceptions of motivating reasons, i.e. the reasons for which we act, can be found in the literature: (1) the dominant 'psychological conception', which says that motivating reasons are an agent's believing something; and (2) the 'non-psychological' conception, the minority view, which says that they are what the agent believes, i.e. his beliefs. In this paper I outline a version of the minority view, and defend it against what have been thought to be insuperable difficulties - in particular, difficulties concerning (...) 'error cases' (cases where what the agent believes is false); and difficulties concerning the explanation of action. Concerning error cases, I argue that if we are motivated by something believed that is true, what motivates us to act is a motivating reason. By contrast, if we are motivated by something believed that is false, then what motivates us to act is merely an apparent motivating reason. Either way, what motivates us is, as the non-psychological conception says, what we believe and not our believing it. I offer an account of the relation between motivating reasons and the explanation of action, and argue that this account helps bring out two important points. One is that the fact that we often do, and indeed sometimes must, use explanations such as 'He did it because he believed that p' does not vindicate the psychological conception of motivating reasons. The other is that endorsing the non-psychological conception of motivating reasons does not commit one to a non-factive view of explanations of action. (shrink)
Ethical beliefs may vary across cultures but there are things that must be valued as preconditions to any cultural practice. Physical and mental abilities vital to believing, valuing and practising a culture are such preconditions and it is always important to protect them. If one is to practise a distinct culture, she must at least have these basic abilities. Access to basic healthcare is one way to ensure that vital abilities are protected. John Rawls argued that access to all-purpose primary (...) goods must be ensured. Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum claim that universal capabilities are what resources are meant to enable. Len Doyal and Ian Gough identify physical health and autonomy as basic needs of every person in every culture. When we disagree on what to prioritize, when resources to satisfy competing demands are scarce, our common needs can provide a point of normative convergence. Need-based rationing, however, has been criticized for being too indeterminate to give guidance for deciding which healthcare services to prioritize and for tending to create a bottomless-pit problem. But there is a difference between needing something (first-order need) and needing to have the ability to need (second-order need). Even if we disagree about which first-order need to prioritize, we must accept the importance of satisfying our second-order need to have the ability to value things. We all have a second-order need for basic healthcare as a means to protect our vital abilities even if we differ in what our cultures consider to be particular first-order needs. (shrink)
Empirical research on Rational Choice Theory has brought up two focus of the economics laws problem. On one hand, we find the authors who state that the neoclassical economics laws are explanatory and predictive on specific cases: in transparent contexts in which the standard rationality operates successfully. On the other hand, we find the authors who state that the descriptive theories of the rational choice opens up a research path in which fundamental principles of the neoclassical building could be questioned. (...) Both view points have generated an important standard Rational Choice Theory revision what has produced the so called descriptive view point . It implies understanding that most of the choices take place under risky or uncertainty conditions and, that, these choices are far more complex than the normative Rational Choice Theory supposes. This article's main goal is to expand the descriptive point of view in rational choice, theorizing how some factors, coming from the social and cultural environment, operate within the rational choice. Into space of this research essay we find the debatable question of whether these sort of proposals expands the explanation of the deviation of the rational choice normative theory, and that, of the disturbing causes of the microeconomics laws, or they call into question fundamental principles of these laws and therefore they are opening the possibility to focus some economics issues in a new different manner. (shrink)
In a congressional hearing in the spring of 1996, talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford was charged with endorsing clothing made in Honduran sweatshops by exploited children. Resulting media coverage focused public attention on a seamy underside of the "global economy." Redemption strategies used by Gifford and her public relations consultant, and repeated and promoted through the mass media, fed a larger controversy over the meaning of the concept of the global economy and its ethical implications for the American public.
The history of the classification of chemical elements is reviewed from the point of view of a bibliophile. The influence that relevant books had on the development of the periodic table and, conversely, how it was incorporated into textbooks, treatises and literary works, with an emphasis on the Spanish bibliography are analyzed in this paper. The reader will also find unexpected connections of the periodic table with the Bible or the architect Buckminster Fuller.
: George Rupp's Beyond Existentialism and Zen, in its typological-structural analysis and model of religious pluralism, proffers an alternative to the dominant Kantian models (e.g., by John Hicks and Sarvepalli Radhakrish nan). The question for Rupp is not which religion is true and how to decide that issue—answered in the Kantian approach in terms of an unknowable Ding an sich that all religions, albeit imperfectly, try to approximate or conceptualize (i.e., God or the Transcendent)—but rather how do religions represent, at (...) least in principle, a structural possibility for salvation or human flourishing, however different and incompatible their distinct prima facie truth claims might be. Although the potential for a radically relativistic model is implicit in Rupp's approach, it is argued here that his Hegelian assumptions lead him to accept relativism only in a provisional ("critical") way; for Rupp, under ideal epistemic conditions (e.g., the Peircian "end of inquiry"), one final conceptualization of ultimate reality will emerge as absolute truth. In the final part of this essay a version of the relativistic model implicit in Rupp's approach is defended against both the Kantian model of Hicks et al. and Rupp's Hegelian-Peircian model, which, it is argued, is incompatible certainly with the spirit of his own typological-structural analysis, if not with the letter. In challenging what Rupp calls the truth of Zen, it is further argued that not only is more than one salvific structural possibility available to us through the different world religions but also that realizing these possibilities is principally a human responsibility, and that the cosmos is quite indifferent to and compatible with several possibilities, from the most destructive to the most conducive to human well being and flourishing. (shrink)
The article focuses on the definition of constitutional conflicts as moral dilemmas. It discusses the conception of tragic conflicts by which “loss” is a distinctive feature that identifies both moral and constitutional dilemmas. It also asserts the peculiarity of constitutional conflicts vis-à-vis moral dilemmas, as well as the possibility of legal solutions to constitutional conflicts.
George Rupp's Beyond Existentialism and Zen, in its typological-structural analysis and model of religious pluralism, proffers an alternative to the dominant Kantian models (e.g., by John Hicks and Sarvepalli Radhakrish- nan). The question for Rupp is not which religion is true and how to decide that issue-answered in the Kantian approach in terms of an unknowable Ding an sich that all religions, albeit imperfectly, try to approximate or conceptualize (i.e., God or the Transcendent)-but rather how do religions represent, at least (...) in principle, a structural possibility for salvation or human flourishing, however different and incompatible their distinct prima facie truth claims might be. Although the potential for a radically relativistic model is implicit in Rupp's approach, it is argued here that his Hegelian assumptions lead him to accept relativism only in a provisional ("critical") way; for Rupp, under ideal epistemic conditions (e.g., the Peircian "end of inquiry"), one final conceptualization of ultimate reality will emerge as absolute truth. In the final part of this essay a version of the relativistic model implicit in Rupp's approach is defended against both the Kantian model of Hicks et al. and Rupp's Hegelian-Peircian model, which, it is argued, is incompatible certainly with the spirit of his own typological-structural analysis, if not with the letter. In challenging what Rupp calls the truth of Zen, it is further argued that not only is more than one salvific structural possibility available to us through the different world religions but also that realizing these possibilities is principally a human responsibility, and that the cosmos is quite indifferent to and compatible with several possibilities, from the most destructive to the most conducive to human well-being and flourishing. (shrink)
This paper presents a restructured set of axioms for categorical logic. In virtue of it, the syllogistic with indefinite terms is deduced and proved, within the categorical logic boundaries. As a result, the number of all the conclusive syllogisms is deduced through a simple and axiomatic methodology. Moreover, the distinction between immediate and mediate inferences disappears, which reinstitutes the unity of Aristotelian logic.
This paper argues that one of the most valuable insights that Muslim-Americans ought to bring into the political arena is our affective response to the government of the United States' internal and foreign policies regarding Muslims. I posit the concept of empathy as one such response that ought to inform our foreign policy in a manner inclusive of Muslim-Americans. The scope of our epistemic privilege encompasses the affective response that crosses borders of the nation-state in virtue of our propinquity to (...) the narratives of Muslims globally. Such an affective response is crucial to our selves remaining multiplicitous and whole. Furthermore, I argue that we ought to access and assess those aspects of our identity that make us subject to suspicions of disloyalty, because it is precisely those aspects that can inform our social and political discourse in a more morally adequate and responsive way. (shrink)
Comienzo este artículo mostrando que las teorías neohumeanas de la causalidad probabilista basadas en la noción de relevancia estadlstica (como la teoria de Suppes, 1970) se encuentran con múltiples e insuperables dificultades. Luego analizo brevemente algunas versiones de la causalidad probabilista que relativizan o prescinden de dicha noción: la de Cartwright, que postula la existencia de capacidades causales, y las de Salmon y Dowe, quienes, aunque se proponen no abandonar el suelo humeano, creen necesario introducir una ontología de propensiones. Y (...) concluyo que el análisis de estas versiones demuestra que la causalidad probabilista constituye un nuevo y serio obstáculo para el enfoque humeano o neohumeano de la causalidad.In this paper I first show that the neohumean theories of probabilistic causality based on the notion of statistical relevance (as that of Suppes, 1970) run into many and unsolvable difficulties. Then I briefty analyze some accounts of probabilistic causality which relativize or avoid this notion: the Cartwright’s account, claiming the existence of causal capacities, and those of Salmon and Dowe, though trying to remain on a Humean ground, believe that the introduction of an ontology of propensities is required. I finally conclude that the analysis of these accounts shows that probabilistic causality constitutes a new and serious obstacle to the Humean or neohumean view of causality. (shrink)
Ce texte propose une analyse des mécanismes argumentatifs mis en œuvre dans les lettres que Hernán Cortés, conquistador du Mexique, a adressées à Charles V (Cartas de Relación) pour légitimer sa conquête du territoire qui deviendra la Nouvelle Espagne et, par ce biais, le Nouveau Monde. Il s’agit en particulier de montrer l’emploi du concept rhétorique d’inventio dans le passage d’une appropriation conceptuelle du « Nouveau Monde » (par l’élaboration de ce concept) à sa domination territoriale (la fondation de Veracruz (...) et la création de la Nouvelle Espagne). (shrink)
How are we to understand the notion of concept, the very concept of concept itself? One natural way, it seems to me, is to take Fregean sense as a model, and imposing similar constraints on a theory of concepts. This approach has the advantage, among others, of allowing for a distinction to be made between publicly shared, objective concepts, on the one hand, and private, subjective mental representations on the other - a distinction which, I believe, is desirable for various (...) reasons. One problem with Frege. (shrink)
El objetivo del artículo es reflexionar sobre el concepto de revuelta popular para precisar su valor heurístico en relación con la comunidad política. Para ello se realiza un recorrido teórico de la idea de revuelta popular en algunos textos de Arendt, Rancière, Blanchot, Nancy, Agamben y Esposito. Propongo que la revuelta debe ser entendida en el marco de una ontología de la comunidad. Se concluye que la revuelta popular supone el rechazo de un orden de desigualdad sostenido en un desacuerdo (...) y la exigencia de no perder la comunidad entendida como el lugar mismo de nuestra existencia. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the concept of popular revolt in order to clarify its heuristic value in relation to political community. The essay traces a theoretical trajectory of the idea of popular revolt in some texts of Arendt, Rancière, Blanchot, Nancy, Agamben and Esposito. I propose that popular revolt must be understood in the context of an ontology of the community. I conclude that popular revolt presumes the rejection of an order on inequality sustained by a disagreement and the requirement of not to lose the community understood as the very place of our existence. (shrink)
This paper's aim is to study the Greek simile of the ship of state, since it was born in the Lyric Poetry until its definitive drawing by Plato's hands. It describes the image of Paros' ship, by Archilochus, or the ship of city by Alcaeus and by Theognis. Analyzes how this image improves through the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles, and their moral comprehension of it. And, at last, explains the excellence achieved as the central image on Plato's politic project.
This paper examines the trait of submissiveness within the framework of virtue ethics. Submissiveness is generally regarded as a vice, particularly when evaluated in reference to patriarchal systems. This paper argues that there is something valuable about the trait of submissiveness—when it functions as a virtue—that is lacking in secular contexts, and this lack detracts from the possibilities of a good life.
The political posture often encouraged in liberatory movements is that of urgency. Urgency is based on the idea that if oppressed peoples do not act “now,” then their fate is forever sealed as subordinates within social and political power hierarchies. This paper focuses on a contrasting political posture, termed presence of mind, motivated by the current political atmosphere of distrust and disenfranchisement in which some Muslim-Americans find themselves. Presence of mind is defined as the ability to critically unpack visceral affective (...) responses to injustice—giving special consideration to power structures, one’s social location, and relationships—and then to asses an appropriate response in virtue of that consideration that best upholds our commitments. This paper argues that cultivating presence of mind acknowledges the complexities of the Muslim-Americans’ identity while providing a posture that allows the resistor to best represent their political commitments. (shrink)
Kant plantea el problema de las parejas incongruentes en 1768, posteriormente en 1770 y 1783. Este problema, relacionado con su concepción acerca de la naturaleza del espacio, se vincula también con su idea sobre la naturaleza del conocimiento geométrico. Mi objetivo en este texto es analizar las observaciones de Kant sobre este punto--tres de las cuales son, a nuestro juicio, de suma relevancia--a partir de la geometría sólida euclidiana, la que constituye precisamente el marco teórico en el cual él (...) pretende que ellas incidan. /// The question concerning the incongruent counterparts is raised by Kant in 1768, but it is also discussed later in 1770 and 1783. This question, which is related to his conception about the nature of space, is also closely related to his ideas about the nature of geometric knowledge. My aim in this paper is to analyze Kant's remarks on this topic--three of these remarks seem particularly relevant to us--in view of Euclidean solid geometry, which constitutes precisely the theoretic and scientific frame where he pretended they should fit. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to analyse the possibilities of a logical or epistemological equivalence between the projets of R. Dedekind and G. Frege for the foundations of arithmetic. It is well know that both of them have a “logicist” point of vew. But we think that even if some coincidences exist in the wa y they define the main concepts of arithmetic, some important differences remain.
In this paper, I examine a new line of response to Frankfurt’s challenge to the traditional association of moral responsibility with the ability to do otherwise. According to this response, Frankfurt’s counterexample strategy fails, not in light of the conditions for moral responsibility per se, but in view of the conditions for action. Specifically, it is claimed, a piece of behavior counts as an action only if it is within the agent’s power to avoid performing it. In so far as (...) Frankfurt’s challenge presupposes that actions can be unavoidable, this view of action seems to bring his challenge up short. Helen Steward and Maria Alvarez have independently proposed versions of this response. Here I argue that this response is unavailable to Frankfurt’s incompatibilist opponents. This becomes evident when we put this question to its proponents: “Are actions that originate deterministically ipso facto unavoidable?” If they answer “yes,” they encounter one horn of a dilemma. If they answer “no,” they encounter the other horn. Since no one has a clearer stake in meeting Frankfurt’s challenge than these theorists do, it is significant that the Steward-Alvarez response is unavailable to them. (shrink)
In Islam, the acquisition of knowledge is a form of worship. But human achievement must be exercised in conformity with God's will. Warnings against feelings of superiority often are coupled with the command to remain within the confines of God's laws and limits. Because of the fear of arrogance and disregard of the balance created by God, any new knowledge or discovery must be applied with careful consideration to maintaining balance in the creation. Knowledge must be applied to ascertain equity (...) and justice for all of humanity. Research in Islam must be linked to the broad ethical base set forth in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Whether embryonic stem cell research or cloning is ethically acceptable in Islam depends on the benefits derived from such applications. What is most important for the scholars is to adhere to the concepts of compassion, mercy, and benefit to everyone. (shrink)
Many bioethicists working in reproductive ethics tacitly assume some theory of diachronic personal identity. For example, Peter Singer argues that there is no identity relation between a foetus and a future individual because the former shares no robust mental connections with the latter. Consequently, abortion prevents the existence of an individual; it does not destroy an already existing individual. Singer's argument implicitly appeals to the psychological account of personal identity, which, although endorsed by many philosophers such as Derek Parfit, is (...) contentious. Singer does not attempt to defend the psychological account before applying it to the moral permissibility of abortion. Indeed, with some notable exceptions, very few bioethicists attempt antecedently to defend their chosen theory of personal identity before applying it to their ethical arguments. In this paper, I look at the issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and human reproductive cloning in order to illustrate how many of the arguments made by bioethicists on these topics are, at least partly, based upon veiled metaphysical assumptions. My objective is to illustrate that progress can be made on these topics by attending to their fundamental metaphysical claims. (shrink)
Maria Alvarez has argued that Thomas Reid’s account of action gives rise to a sceptical worry concerning one’s awareness of one’s own actions. Against this, I argue that Alvarez overstates the sceptical consequences of Reid’s admission that there is room for doubt about the actual causes of bodily movements; rather than generating a serious epistemological problem for his theory, it can be given a more plausible reading that serves to defuse the sceptical worry.
As a result of recent corporate scandals, several rules have focused on the role played by Boards of Directors on the planning and monitoring of corporate codes of ethics. In theory, outside directors are in a better position than insiders to protect and further the interests of all stakeholders because of their experience and their sense of moral and legal obligations. Female directors also tend to be more sensitive to ethics according to several past studies which explain this affirmation by (...) early gender socialization, the fact that women are thought to place a greater emphasis on harmonious relations and the fact that men and women use different ethical frameworks in their judgments. The goal of this paper is to determine the influence of these characteristics of the Board in terms of promoting and hindering the creation of a code of ethics. Our findings show that a greater number of female directors does not necessarily lead to more ethical companies. Moreover, within Europe as a continent, board ownership leads to an entrenchment of upper-level management, generating a divergence between the ethical interests of owners and managers. In light of this situation, the presence of independent directors is necessary to reduce such conflicts. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface.1. Reasons for Action and Practical Reasoning (Maria Alvarez).2. Ambivalence and Authentic Agency (Laura W. Ekstrom).3. The Road to Larissa (John Hyman).4. What is the Content of an Intention in Action? (John McDowell).5. Joseph Raz Being in the World (Joseph Raz).6. Moral Scepticism and Agency (Kant and Korsgaard Robert Stern).7. Speech, Action and Uptake (Maximilian de Gaynesford).Index.
Far too often in our society, the input of a potential father is not deemed relevant in a woman’s abortion decision. Men, however, can suffer emotional strains due to the abortion of their potential child, and given this harm it seems that morality must make room for a potential father’s voice in the abortion decision. I will argue that a man cannot have the right to veto a woman’s decision to procure an abortion, yet there may be times where a (...) woman may exercise her right to an abortion in a manner not indicative of a virtuous character. This is especially a danger in the face of a dissenting man who may suffer greatly if his potential child is abortedand thus I will delineate circumstances where a virtuous woman would concede to carrying a fetus to term in order to give a man the child he so desperately desires. In addition to using virtue ethics to make the argument, I will incorporate certain aspects of care ethics in order to further what may seem to some to be a rather contentious claim. (shrink)
There is a vast literature on the meanings of legal penalties. However, we lack a theory that explains them according to the formation of the modern state. Oakeshott's theory can help explain this phenomenon, leading to an attempt of the individual to take over as many powers of the state as possible. Thus, Kant's and Smith's retributivism is the most consistent of all those theories. Nevertheless, the preventive and resocializing theory of Bentham succeeded eventually. But is this a liberal theory? (...) We contrast the explanations of H.L.A. Hart and Frederick Rosen in order to lay the groundwork for a liberal theory of the meaning of legal sanctions. (shrink)