In what it will be convenient to call “the Scandinavian school”; of jurisprudence, Hagerstrom is clearly the master. But his leadership is of a somewhat special kind. For all that he wrote a large book on Roman law, Hägerström was trained as, and continued to be, a philosopher, not a jurisprudentialist or a sociologist. His essays on law and morals are ancillary to his main purpose: to destroy transcendental metaphysics. The epigraphhe chose to head his contribution to Die Philosophic der (...) Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen was uncompromising: “Praeterea censeo metaphysicam esse delendam.” If, in his published work, he to so considerable a degree concentrated his attention on ethics and jurisprudence, that is because he took them to be a particularly rich source of metaphysical mystery-mongering. Through a study of men's moral and legal ideas, Hägerström thought he could bring out the sources, the defects—and even, in a way, the strength—of metaphysical thinking. (shrink)
Larry Alexander and Peter Westen each critically examine different topics from my recent collection of essays, The Philosophy of Criminal Law. Alexander focuses on my “Rapes Without Rapists,” “Mistake of Law and Culpability,” and “Already Punished Enough.” Westen offers a more extended commentary on my “Transferred Intent.” I briefly reply to each critic in turn and try to extend the debates in new directions.
There is yet to be any animal welfare or protection law for domestic animals in China, one of the few countries in the world today that do not have such laws. However, in Chinese imperial law, there were legal provisions adopted more than a 1,000 years ago for the care and treatment of domestic working animals. Furthermore, in traditional Chinese philosophy, animals were regarded as constituent part of the organic whole of the cosmos by ancient Chinese philosophers who saw (...) no strict delineation between humans and non-human animals. Notwithstanding, the attitude and practice towards animals in ancient Chinese life was also ambivalent and was predicated upon the practical utility of animals for the service of humans and society. Such practice can be seen through the legal provisions in imperial China. This paper first discusses animal’s place in traditional Chinese philosophy and then in Chinese imperial law. It raises the issue of the gap discernable from the philosophical thought on animals and practice regarding animals in everyday life in China. The paper argues that given the gap in perception and attitude regarding animals, law can play an important role that moral teaching has not been able to achieve. (shrink)
In this revised edition, two distinguished philosophers have extended and strengthened the most authoritative text available on the philosophy of law and jurisprudence. While retaining their comprehensive coverage of classical and modern theory, Murphy and Coleman have added new discussions of the Critical Legal Studies movement and feminist jurisprudence, and they have strengthened their treatment of natural law theory, criminalization, and the law of torts. The chapter on law and economics remains the best short introduction to that difficult, controversial, (...) and influential topic.Students will appreciate the careful organization and clear presentation of complicated issues as well as the emphasis on the relevance of both law and legal theory to contemporary society. (shrink)
The paper deals with certain issues with which Olivecrona was mainly concerned in his Philosophy of Law, notably (i) his views about the logical or syntactical form of imperatives as used in the law, and (ii) his views on the semantics of imperatives in the law and on the question whether and to what extent the notions of truth and falsity are applicable to those imperatives at all. In the light of an important critical notice of Olivecrona's work by (...) Marc-Wogau (1940 ), we examine some textual evidence for attributing to Olivecrona a so-called Atheoretical Thesis to the effect that imperatives in the law are neither true nor false or lack truth-value altogether. We close the paper by commenting on the celebrated distinction due to Hedenius (1941 ) and further elaborated by Wedberg (1951 ) between genuine ("rule-stating") normative sentences in the law and spurious ones (stating merely that a given rule is (or is not) in force in a given society at a given time). Two interesting difficulties bound up with that distinction will be dealt with. By means of various quotations we try to capture something of the flavour characterizing the legal philosophical discussion in Sweden in the mid-twentieth century during la belle époque of Scandinavian Legal Realism of which Olivecrona was a typical representative. (shrink)
An extraordinary collection of the finest essays in the core areas of legal philosophy, Readings in Philosophy of Law is a perfect introduction to the breadth of issues covered in the philosophy of law. The essays are all classic papers chosen as much for their clarity of thought and comprehensiveness as for their distinctiveness and importance to the subject matters of legal philosophy. This collection is ideal for the professional as well as the student, as it (...) brings together classic essays that are not otherwise available in one volume. The reader sees each author's thoughts and arguments unfold naturally within the context of other important works. For breadth of contributions and intellectual rigor, Readings in Philosophy of Law is unrivalled. (shrink)
Philosophy of Law: An Introduction provides an ideal starting point for students of philosophy and law, assuming no prior knowledge of either subject. The book is structured around the key issues and themes in philosophy of law: * What is the law? - the major legal theories including realism, positivism and natural law * The reach of the law - authority, rights, liberty, privacy and tolerance * Criminal responsibility and punishment - legal defenses, crime, diminished responsibility and (...) theories of punishment. The second edition expands the original focus on mainstream legal theory to look at contemporary critical perspectives such as feminist theories on pornography and freedom of speech, and Foucault's radical approach to criminal responsibility. Philosophy of Law has also been updated to include recent developments such as cases of conjoined twins, and the Human Rights Act. With study questions at the end of each chapter, and a new conclusion assessing both traditional legal theory and the various critical perspectives, this is the ideal textbook for introducing students to the philosophy of law. (shrink)
Cottingham : Western philosophy : an anthology (second edition) -- Cahoone : from modernism to postmodernism : an anthology (expanded -- Second edition) -- Lafollette : ethics in practice : an anthology (third edition) -- Goodin and Pettit: contemporary political philosophy: an anthology (second -- Edition) -- Eze: african philosophy : an anthology -- McNeill and Feldman : continental philosophy : an anthology -- Kim and Sosa : metaphysics : an anthology -- Lycan and Prinz : (...) mind and cognition : an anthology (third edition) -- Kuhse and Singer : bioethics : an anthology (second edition) -- Cummins and Cummins : minds, brains, and computers : the foundations of -- Cognitive science : an anthology -- Sosa, Kim, Fantl, and McGrath epistemology : an anthology (second edition) -- Kearney and Rasmussen : continental aesthetics, romanticism to -- Postmodernism : an anthology -- Martinich and Sosa : analytic philosophy : an anthology -- Jacquette : philosophy of logic : an anthology -- Jacquette : philosophy of mathematics : an anthology -- Harris, Pratt, and Waters : American philosophies : an anthology -- Emmanuel and Goold: modern philosophy from Descartes to Nietzsche : an anthology -- Scharff and Dusek : philosophy of technology ; the technological condition : an anthology -- Light and Rolston : environmental ethics : an anthology -- Taliaferro and Griffiths : philosophy of religion : an anthology -- Lamarque and Olsen : aesthetics and the philosophy of art; the analytic -- Tradition : an anthology -- John and Lopes : philosophy of literature ; contemporary and classic -- Readings : an anthology -- Cudd and Andreasen : feminist theory : a philosophical anthology -- Carroll and Choi : philosophy of film and motion pictures : an anthology -- Lange : philosophy of science : an anthology -- Shafer-Landau and Cuneo : foundations of ethics : an anthology -- Curren : philosophy of education : an anthology -- Shafer-Landau : ethical theory : an anthology -- Cahn and Meskin : aesthetics : a comprehensive anthology -- McGrew, Alspector-Kelly and Allhoff : the philosophy of science : an historical -- Anthology -- May and Brown : the philosophy of law : classic and contemporary readings -- Forthcoming -- Rosenberg and ARP : philosophy of biology : an anthology. (shrink)
One of the first volumes in the new series of prestigious Oxford Handbooks, The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law brings together specially commissioned essays by twenty-seven of the foremost legal theorists currently writing, to provide a state of the art overview of jurisprudential scholarship. Each author presents an account of the contending views and scholarly debates animating their field of enquiry as well as setting the agenda for further study. This landmark publication will be essential reading (...) for anyone working in legal theory and of interest to legal scholars generally, philosophers and legal theorists looking for a way in to understand current jurisprudential thinking. (shrink)
Introduction to the Philosophy of Law: Readings and Cases employs a combination of case-based and theory-based materials to show novices in the field how the philosophy of law is related to concrete and actual legal practice. Ideal for undergraduates, it engages their curiosity about the law without sacrificing philosophical content. The authors emphasize a command of legal concepts and doctrine as a prelude to philosophical analysis. Designed to acquaint students with the fundamentals of jurisprudence and legal theory, Part (...) I of the book includes readings from influential philosophers representing eight different types of jurisprudence: natural law theory, positivism, constructivism, consequentialism, critical legal studies, feminist theory, practice theory, and new natural law theory. In Part II, the authors present a variety of cases that allow students to apply the theories in Part I to the actual practice of law. Unlike similar texts, which focus primarily on public law, this unique book addresses both private and public law and includes cases on statutory interpretation, contract law, and tort law. Brief essays precede and discussion questions follow each case. Introduction to the Philosophy of Law: Readings and Cases serves as an exceptional text for courses in the philosophy of law, jurisprudence, and legal theory. (shrink)
This lively and accessible introduction to the social, moral, and cultural foundations of law takes a broad scope-- spanning philosophy, law, politics, and economics, and discussing a range of topics including women's rights, racism, the environment, and recent international issues such as the war in Iraq and the treatment of terror suspects. Revealing the intriguing and challenging nature of legal philosophy with clarity and enthusiasm, Raymond Wacks explores the notion of law and its role in our lives. Referring (...) to key thinkers from the classical world to the modern, he looks at the central questions behind legal theory that have always fascinated lawyers and philosophers, as well as anyone who ever wondered about law's relation to justice, morality, and democracy. (shrink)
Echoing the debate about the nature of law that has dominated legal philosophy for several decades, this volume includes essays on the nature of law and on law not as it is but as it should be. Wherever possible, essays have been chosen that have provoked direct responses from other legal philosophers, and in two cases these responses are included. Contributors include H.L.A. Hart, R.M. Dworkin, Lord Patrick Devlin, John Rawls, J.J. Thomson, J. Finnis, and T.M. Scanlon.
Unlike other works in philosophy of law, which focus on the nature of law in the abstract, this comprehensive anthology presents law as a "process," part and parcel of a system of government and defined constitutional procedures. Using the U.S. legal system as a model, it establishes the basis of law in political theory, then presents substantive issues in private and public law, illustrated throughout with important political documents and court cases and stimulating readings in history, law, and (...) class='Hi'>philosophy. The editor's detailed critical commentary, notes, and study questions make these materials accessible and useful for a wide range of readers seeking a deeper understanding of private and public law and the nature of the political process. (shrink)
The volume brings together a collection of original papers on some of the main tenets of Joseph Raz's legal and political philosophy: Legal positivism and the nature of law, practical reason, authority, the value of equality, incommensurability, harm, group rights, and multiculturalism.
John Finnis is a pre-eminent legal, moral and political philosopher. This volume contains over 25 essays by leading international scholars of philosophy and law who critically engage with issues at the heart of Finnis's work.
This is the first comprehensive handbook in the philosophy of criminal law. It contains seventeen original essays by leading thinkers in the field and covers the field's major topics including limits to criminalization, obscenity and hate speech, blackmail, the law of rape, attempts, accomplice liability, causation, responsibility, justification and excuse, duress, provocation and self-defense, insanity, punishment, the death penalty, mercy, and preventive detention and other alternatives to punishment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students whose research (...) and studies concern philosophical issues in criminal law and criminal law theory. (shrink)
This work provides, for the first time, a unified account of the theory of action presupposed by both British and American criminal law and its underlying morality. It defends the view that human actions are volitionally caused body movements. This theory illuminates three major problems in drafting and implementing criminal law--what the voluntary act requirement does and should require, what complex descriptions of actions prohibited by criminal codes both do and should require, and when the two actions are the "same" (...) for purposes of assessing whether multiple prosecutions and multiple punishments are warranted. The book contributes to the development of a coherent theory of action in philosophy. It provides a grounding in three of the most basic elements of criminal liability for legislators, judges, and the lawyers who argue to them. (shrink)
Charles Covell examines the jurisprudential aspects of Kant's international thought, with particular reference to the argument of the treatise Perpetual Peace (1795). The book begins with a general outline of Kant's moral and political philosophy. In the discussion of Perpetual Peace that follows, it is explained how Kant saw law as providing the basis for peace among men and states in the international sphere, and how, in his exposition of the elements of the law of peace, Kant broke with (...) the secular natural law tradition of Grotius, Hobbes, Wolff and Vattel in the view he took of the foundations of the law to make peace in the international sphere. In the conclusion to the book, Kant and his law of peace are considered in relation to the condition of contemporary international society. (shrink)
Why should sovereign states obey international law? What compels them to owe allegiance to a higher set of rules when each country is its own law of the land? What is the basis of their obligations to each other? Conventional wisdom suggests that countries are too different from one another culturally to follow laws out of mere loyalty to each other or a set of shared moral values. Surely, the prevailing view holds, countries act simply out of self-interest, and they (...) eventually consent to norms of international law to regulate matters of common interest.In this groundbreaking book, Fernando Tesón goes against this prevailing thought by arguing, in the Kantian tradition, that a shared respect for individual human rights underpins not just the obligation countries feel to follow international law but also international laws themselves and even the very legitimacy of nations in the eyes of the international community. Tesón, both a lawyer and a philosopher, proposes that an overlapping respect for human rights has created a moral common ground among the countries of the world; and moreover, that such an outlook is the only one that is rationally defensible. It is this common set of values rather than self-interest that ultimately provides legitimacy to international law. Using the tools of moral philosophy, Tesón analyzes the concepts of sovereignty, intervention, and national interest; the contributions of social contact theory, game theory, and feminist theory; and the puzzles of self-determination and group rights.More than simply outlining his theory, Tesón goes on to give detailed examples of international laws, international institutions, and their human rights foundations, putting his ideas to work and addressing legal reforms called for by the theory. He suggests that treaties, for example, should be considered binding if, and only if, the consent to the treaty was given by a genuinely representative government, one that acts out of interest for the human rights of its citizens. Although the theoretical achievement of this book is to challenge received wisdom on the foundation of international law, the practical ambition is a call to reform the international legal system for the post–Cold War era, to substitute for the old order one that gives primacy to human dignity and freedom over state power. (shrink)
To answer the question of what difference the philosophy of history makes to the philosophy of law this paper begins by calling attention to the way that Ronald Dworkin's interpretive theory of law is supposed to upend legal positivism. My analysis shows how divergent theories about what law and the basis of legal authority is are supported by divergent points of view about what concepts are, how they operate within social practices, and how we might best give account (...) of such meanings. Such issues are widely debated in the philosophy of history but are often overlooked in jurisprudential circles. When the legal positivist approach to meanings is contrasted with Dworkin's interpretivism it is clear that what is needed is an alternative to both, in the form of what we might call "historical meanings" and "historical interpretation". While Dworkin's interpretivism gets it right that legal positivism is an inadequate philosophy of law to the extent that it is committed to a "criterial semantics" view of concepts, this paper argues that post-positivism in the philosophy of law need not entail a normative jurisprudence, as Dworkin would have it. (shrink)
In this paper, I challenge an influential understanding of naturalization according to which work on traditional problems in the philosophy of law should be replaced with sociological or psychological explanations of how judges decide cases. W.V. Quine famously proposed the ‘naturalization of epistemology’. In a prominent series of papers and a book, Brian Leiter has raised the intriguing idea that Quine’s naturalization of epistemology is a useful model for philosophy of law. I examine Quine’s naturalization of epistemology and (...) Leiter’s suggested parallel and argue that the parallel does not hold up. Even granting Leiter’s substantive assumption that the law is indeterminate, there is no philosophical confusion or overreaching in the legal case that is parallel to the philosophical overreaching of Cartesian foundationalism in epistemology. Moreover, if we take seriously Leiter’s analogy, the upshot is almost the opposite of what Leiter suggests. The closest parallel in the legal case to Quine’s position would be the rejection of the philosophical positions that lead to the indeterminacy thesis. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law brings together specially commissioned essays by twenty-six of the foremost legal theorists currently writing, to provide a state-of-the-art overview of jurisprudential scholarship. Each author presents an account of the contending views and scholarly debates animating their field of enquiry as well as setting the agenda for further study. This landmark publication will be essential reading for anyone working in legal theory and of interest to legal scholars generally, philosophers, and legal (...) theorists looking for a starting point towards understanding current jurisprudential thinking. (shrink)
This paper attempts to respond to a call to find an ontological basis for establishing African legal theory. The African world of my choice is the Igbo world of South-east Nigeria. It is a world I want to examine to see how its material and theoretical structures help articulate a philosophy of law in terms of projecting a consistent understanding of law subjects and the foundations of their rights. The article builds on the contributions of F. U. Okafor and (...) his many African critics. (shrink)
A new edition of the first systematic reading of Hegel's political philosophy Elements of the Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important works in the history of political philosophy. This is the first book on the subject to take Hegel's system of speculative philosophy seriously as an important component of any robust understanding of this text. Key Features •Sets out the difference between 'systematic' and 'non-systematic' readings of Philosophy of (...) Right •Outlines the unique structure of Hegel's philosophical arguments •Explores key areas of Hegel's political philosophy: his theories of property, punishment, morality, law, monarchy, war, democracy and history This significantly expanded second edition includes: a more detailed explanation of Hegel's philosophical system, two new chapters on his theories of democracy and history and an appendix detailing the implications this work has for future interpretations of Hegel's philosophy. (shrink)
The wrongness of rape -- Rationality and the rule of law in offences against the person -- Complicity and causality -- In defence of defences -- Justifications and reasons -- The gist of excuses -- Fletcher on offences and defences -- Provocation and pluralism -- The mark of responsibility -- The functions and justifications of criminal law and punishment -- Crime : in proportion and in perspective -- Reply to critics.
Many of the current debates in jurisprudence focus on articulating the boundaries of law. In this essay I challenge this approach on two separate grounds. I first argue that if such debates are to be about law, their purported subject, they ought to pay closer attention to the practice. When such attention is taken it turns out that most of the debates on the boundaries of law are probably indeterminate. I show this in particular with regard to the debate between (...) inclusive and exclusive positivists: I present several ways of understanding what this debate is about and argue that none of them is defensible. My second argument focuses more on the purpose of jurisprudential inquiry. I argue there that even if some jurisprudential debates have determinate answers, it does not follow that they deserve our attention, because not all true facts are worth knowing. After discussing and rejecting the claim that jurisprudence could be justified as knowledge for its own sake, I propose one possible justification for engaging in legal philosophy and outline its implications for the kind of issues that should be pursued. (shrink)
The adversary system and the practice of law -- The rule of law -- The moral force of law -- Statutes -- Precedents -- Constitutional interpretation -- Natural law and legal positivism: classical perspectives -- Formalism and legal realism -- Morality and the law -- International law -- Law and economics -- The justification of punishment -- The rights of defendants -- Sentencing -- Criminal responsibility -- Compensating for private harms: the law of torts -- Private ownership: the law of (...) property -- Private agreements: the law of contract -- Church and state -- Personal liberty and privacy -- Freedom of speech -- Equality. (shrink)
In what, if any sense are our torts and our breaches of contract 'wrongs'? These two branches of private law have for centuries provided philosophers and jurists with grounds for puzzlement and this book provides both an outline of, and intervention in, contemporary jurisprudential debates about the nature and foundation of liability in private law.
For the first time, full coverage of the intersections of philosophy and law From articles centering on the detailed and doctrinal exposition of the law to those which reside almost wholly within the realm of philosophical ethics, this volume affords comprehensive treatment to both sides of the philosophicolegal equation. Systematic and sustained coverage of the many dimensions of legal thought gives ample expression to the true breadth and depth of the philosophy of law, with coverage of: *The modes (...) of knowing and the kinds of normativity used in the law *Studies in international, constitutional, criminal, administrative, persons and property, contracts and tort law-including their historical origins and worldwide ramifications *Current legal cultures-such as common law and civilian, European, and Aboriginal *Influential jurisprudents and their biographies *All influential schools and methods Coverage of all major historical, cultural, and geographical settings for legal philosophy A thorough understanding of any legal issue necessitates an acquaintance with its antecedents and its corollaries. Thus, added to the consideration of other current legal cultures outside of North America are treatments of other periods significant to legal thinking, such as the Hellenistic, Sixteenth-century, or Federalist. Discussion of the practice of legal philosophy today In every major area where public policy gives rise to philosophical inquiry regarding the law, debates and discussions are covered in full: tort reform, protection of life and death, gay rights, objectives in punishment, non-putative detention, international deterrence, legitimacy of government. And the historical and international dimensions of these issues-how they are resolved in other times and places-are not lost. Contributions from prominent legal and philosophical scholars from around the world The international array of more than 300 contributors from over forty countries complements the volume's international scope. With many contributors being forces in the very debates they write of, some fifty percent of them work in the law-as judges, jurists or jurisprudence-and another half are philosophers in the social sciences and humanities. Their work spans the practice that is taken for philosophy of law today. Special features *Contributions of more than 300 international scholars from more than 40 countires *Extensive bibliographies at the end of each entry *Detailed subject guide for easy access to the main topics covered *Comprehensive, analytical index. (shrink)
The Philosophy of Law is a broad-reaching text that guides readers through the basic analytical and normative issues in the field, highlighting key historical and contemporary thinkers and offering a unified treatment of the various issues in the philosophy of law. Enlivened with numerous, everyday examples to illustrate various concepts of law. Employs the idea of three central commonplaces about law - that law is a social matter, that law is authoritative, and that law is for the common (...) good - to organize seemingly disparate topics and to bring rival views into contention with each other. The first volume in the Fundamentals of Philosophy series, in which leading philosophers explore the fundamental issues and core problems in the major sub-disciplines of philosophy. (shrink)
Although known as the founder of modern utilitarianism and the source of analytical jurisprudence, Bentham today is infrequently read but often caricatured. The present book offers a reinterpretation of Bentham's main philosophical doctrines, his principle of utility and his analysis of law, philosophical doctrines, as they are developed in Bentham's most important works. A new reading is also given to his theory of law, which suggests Bentham's insight, originality, and continued interest for philosophers and legal theorists. First published in 1973, (...) this revised edition contains a new Preface, a revised Bibliography, and two new Indexes, one of Names and one of Subjects, which together replace the original index. (shrink)
Does criminal liability require an act? -- Motive and criminal liability -- The costs to criminal theory of supposing that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility -- Transferred intent -- The nature and justifiability of nonconsummate offenses -- Strict liability, justice, and proportionality -- The sequential principle of relative culpability -- Willful ignorance, knowledge, and the equal culpability thesis : a study of the significance of the principle of legality -- Rapes without rapists : consent and reasonable mistake -- Mistake of (...) law and culpability -- On the supposed priority of justification to excuse -- Partial defenses -- The "but everybody does that!" defense -- The de minimis "defense" to criminal liability -- Why punish the deserving -- Malum prohibitum and retributivism -- Already punished enough. (shrink)
Bringing the topic down to earth -- The body of Jewish law : how Jewish law resembles other legal systems -- The covenantal soul of Jewish law : how Jewish law is unique -- Motivations to live by Jewish law -- Continuity and change in Jewish law -- The relationship of Jewish law to morality and theology -- Jewish law and custom -- Comparisons to the right and the left -- Applications of my theory of Jewish law to specific cases.
This paper discusses some paradoxical propositions in Chinese tradition, especially the School of Names. It not only explains what Chinese philosophers mean by these propositions and why there are such paradoxes in Chinese philosophy, but also makes an attempt to formulate these paradoxical propositions in the language of symbolic logic. Meanwhile, the paper makes a comparison between Chinese views about contradiction and Aristotle?s law ot non?contradiction and explores the relation between them. It comes to the conclusion that once the (...) difference between Chinese concept of contraries and Aristotle?s is made clear, inconsistency between Chinese paradoxial propositions and Aristotle?s. law of non-contradiction disappears. (shrink)
Americans have been obsessed about the mechanics of perfectibility. Perfectibility is built into the constitutive documents of the American Republic. The expression of that perfection is Law, and Government provides the means. The mechanics of perfectibility lies in philosophy and theology. Through these mechanics Americans can discern the spirit of perfection - as God or as the genius of the American community made manifest. The essay considers these notions in the context of two cases, Swift v. Tyson (1842) and (...) Erie Railroad Co. v. Tomkins (1938), which provide both the antipodes of American conceptions of the sources and hierarchy of law, and also suggest the mechanics of a mandatory perfectibility in American. But the judge is not the only intermediary between perfection and its expression in law. The essay suggests the way the political branches also seek the role of privileged (and uniquely privileged) intermediaries between the people and perfection. The essay ends with a consideration of the value of the theology of faith and reason in the elaboration of American jurisprudence. (shrink)
In this paper, I criticize an influential understanding of naturalization according to which work on traditional problems in the philosophy of law should be replaced with sociological or psychological explanations of how judges decide cases. W.V. Quine famously proposed the “naturalization of epistemology.” Quine argued that we should replace certain traditional philosophical inquiries into the justification of our beliefs with empirical psychological inquiry into how we actually form beliefs. In a prominent series of papers and a forthcoming book, Brian (...) Leiter has raised the intriguing idea that Quine’s naturalization of epistemology is a useful model for philosophy of law. I examine Quine’s naturalization of epistemology and Leiter’s suggested parallel. I argue that the parallel does not hold up. I show that, granting Leiter’s substantive assumption that the law is indeterminate, there is no philosophical confusion or overreaching in the legal case that is parallel to the philosophical overreaching of foundationalism in epistemology. Moreover, if we take seriously Leiter’s analogy between, on the one hand, the justification of belief in scientific theories and, on the other, the justification of decisions in legal cases, the result is almost the opposite of what Leiter suggests. The closest parallel in the legal case to Quine’s position would be the rejection of the philosophical positions that lead to the indeterminacy thesis. Finally, the conclusion that law is indeterminate could not establish the bankruptcy of philosophical investigation into the relation between the grounds of law and the content of the law. After all, the argument for that conclusion depends on a philosophical account of the relation between the grounds of law and the content of law. The argument therefore presupposes that that relation is an appropriate subject for philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
abstract Focusing on the criminal law, I discuss three ways in which analytical philosophers might contribute to the development or health of the law (and of legal theory). The first is as humble under-labourers, who seek only to clarify legal rules and doctrines, but not to criticise them. This modest conception of the role of philosophy, however, proves to be untenable: clarification must become rational reconstruction — an attempt to make rational sense of the law; and rational reconstruction must (...) involve at least an internal critique, which appraises the law in terms of ends, values or principles that the reconstruction discovers within the law. Such an internal critique must then also point beyond itself, to an external critique that appraises law in terms of the broader and deeper political and moral values by which states should be structured; the paper ends by noting some of the problems that such an external critique faces, and some of the problems that philosophers must face in trying to engage with the world of public policy. (shrink)