In their important book, Causation in the Law, H. L. A. Hart and Tony Honore argue that causation in the law is based on causation outside the law, that the causal principles the courts rely on to determine legal responsibility are based on distinctions exercised in ordinary causal judgments. A distinction that particularly concerns them is one that divides factors that are necessary or sine qua non for an effect into those that count as causes for purposes of legal responsibility (...) and those that do not. Hart and Honore claim that this distinction is often one of fact rather than of legal policy, and that the factual basis is to be found in the ordinary distinction we draw between causes and 'mere conditions'. If this claim is correct, we may hope to illuminate the legal distinction by articulating the principles behind the ordinary one. This is a challenging task since, as in the case of most cognitive skills, we are far better at making particular judgments than we are at stating the general principles that underlie them. Hart and Honore devote the first part of their book to this difficult task. We have, then, two large projects. One is to articulate our ordinary notion of causation, especially the distinction between cause and mere condition. This is the project of constructing an 'ordinary model'. The other is to argue for what we may call the 'shared concept claim', the claim that the concept of legal cause is based on the ordinary notion of causation, that 'causal judgments, though the law may have to systematize them, are not specifically legal. They appeal to a notion which is part of everyday life' (1985, p. lv; all references to follow are from this edition). This essay will focus on Hart and Honore's ordinary model, rather than on their shared concept claim. In my judgment, Hart and Honore's case for some version of the shared concept claim is strong, so they are right to maintain that a better understanding of our ordinary notion of.. (shrink)
Current Legal Issues, like its sister volume Current Legal Problems, is based upon an annual colloquium held at University College London. Each year, leading scholars from around the world gather to discuss the relationship between law and another discipline of thought. Each colloqium examines how the external discipline is conceived in legal thought and argument, how the law is pictured in that discipline, and analyses points of controversy in the use, and abuse, of extra-legal arguments within legal theory and practice. (...) -/- Law and Philosophy, the latest volume in the Current Legal Issues series, contains a broad range of essays by scholars interested in the interactions between law and philosophy. It includes studies examining the themes of the nature of law; and interactions between State, the citizen, and the law. (shrink)
In this major study of the foundations of modern political theory the eminent political philosopher T. R. Harrison explains, analyzes, and criticizes the work of Hobbes, Locke, and their contemporaries. He provides a full account of the turbulent historical background that shaped the political, intellectual, and religious content of this philosophy. The book explores such questions as the limits of political authority and the relation of the legitimacy of government to the will of its people in non-technical, accessible prose that (...) will appeal to students of philosophy, politics, theology and history. (shrink)
These essays constitute a welcome addition to the current re-engagement with the ethical thought of a prominent late Victorian philosopher and reformer. Henry Sidgwick wrote the first professional work of modern moral philosophy, yet one century after his death his thought remains relevant to the present revival of interest in the question of how we should live. -/- How does moral philosophy fit in with the more general use of practical reason? - a still puzzling and deeply contested problem. Which (...) actions are appropriate for an intellectual? - i.e., how should the moral thought of the professional few in the universities be related to the thought and action of the many in the world outside? Sidgwick's solutions to these questions are discussed and criticised by a distinguished group of scholars, providing new insights into these recurring issues of moral philosophy. (shrink)
There is an argument that government cannot be good for individuals because it causes them to act through fear of punishment, hence for nonmoral reasons. The obvious responses of accepting the conclusion (anarchism) and denying the premiss about moral motivation (utilitarianism) are first considered. Then the strategy of accepting the premiss but denying the conclusion is pursued at greater length. Some arguments of T. H. Green and B. Bosanquet which attempt to do this are considered before an independent resolution is (...) proposed. (shrink)
The note claims that Rosen's arguments about distribution and aggregation do not support his central claim, either in their own terms or as a reading of Bentham; and suggests a different account of the relation of the objective to the subjective in Bentham.
Bernard Williams is one of the most influential figures in recent ethical theory, where he has set a considerable part of the current agenda. In this collection, a distinguished international team of philosophers who have been stimulated by Williams' work give new responses to it. The topics covered include equality, consistency, comparisons between science and ethics, integrity, moral reasons, the moral system, and moral knowledge. Williams himself then provides a substantial reply, which in turn shows both the current directions of (...) his own thought and also his present view of his earlier work (such as that on utilitarianism). (shrink)
Each of the essays included in this volume illuminates an aspect of law, reflecting an unorthodox perception of jurisprudence which combines interests in philosophy, legal theory, criminology, legal history, political and constitutional theory and the history of ideas. This work will broaden the jurisprudential scope of practitioners' professional concerns, but help academics enhance their knowledge of the wealth of information for their own studies.
This book addresses the importance of space and time, of existence unperceived, of publicity and action, and of natural laws. These are examined in a single argument which extends from Chapter Three to Chapter Seven and in the course of which the essential features of any comprehensible world are either assumed or derived. In Chapter Two, before this argument begins, the book introduces and argues for the methods by which this general argument is developed. In Chapter One, the book attempts (...) to show why it is important to consider the essential features of any comprehensible world. This chapter forms a prolegomenon to the inquiry. The argument in it is of a somewhat more impressionistic nature than the argument later in the inquiry; and so it is probably important to point out that the conclusions reached in the inquiry itself are practically independent of the argument of the first chapter. Those that are totally unconvinced by it may still be persuaded by the general argument which follows. (shrink)