Retrospective rule-making has few supporters and many opponents. Defenders of retrospective laws generally do so on the basis that they are a necessary evil in specific or limited circumstances, for example to close tax loopholes, to deal with terrorists or to prosecute fallen tyrants. Yet the reality of retrospective rule making is far more widespread than this, and ranges from ’corrective’ legislation to ’interpretive regulations’ to judicial decision making. The search for a rational justification for retrospective rule-making necessitates a (...) reconsideration of the very nature of the rule of law and the kind of law that can rule, and will provide new insights into the nature of law and the parameters of societal order. This book examines the various ways in which laws may be seen as retrospective and analyses the problems in defining retrospectivity. In his analysis Dr Charles Sampford asserts that the definitive argument against retrospective rule-making is the expectation of individuals that, if their actions today are considered by a future court, the applicable law was discoverable at the time the action was performed. The book goes on to suggest that although the strength of this ’rule of law’ argument should prevail in general, exceptions are sometimes necessary, and that there may even be occasions when analysis of the rule of law may provide the foundation for the application of retrospective laws. (shrink)
In this paper we want to explore an argumentative pattern that provides a normative justification for expected utility functions grounded on empirical evidence, showing how it worked in three different episodes of their development. The argument claims that we should prudentially maximize our expected utility since this is the criterion effectively applied by those who are considered wisest in making risky choices (be it gamblers or businessmen). Yet, to justify the adoption of this rule, it should be proven that this (...) is empirically true: i.e., that a given function allows us to predict the choices of that particular class of agents. We show how expected utility functions were introduced and contested in accordance with this pattern in the 18th century and how it recurred in the 1950s when M. Allais made his case against the neobernoullians. (shrink)
This article revisits Arendt’s and Foucault’s converging accounts of modern (bio)politics and the entry of biological life into politics. Agamben’s influential account of these ideas is rejected as a misrepresentation both because it de-historicizes biological/organic life and because it occludes the positivity of that life and thus the discursive appeal and performative force of biopolitics. Through attention to the genealogy of Arendt’s and Foucault’s own ideas we will see that the major point of convergence in their thinking is their insistence (...) upon understanding biological thinking from the inside, in terms of its positivity. Agamben’s assessment of modern politics is closer to Arendt’s than it is to Foucault’s and this marks a fascinating point of disagreement between Arendt and Foucault. Whereas Arendt sees the normalizing force of modern society as being in total opposition to individuality, Foucault posits totalization and individuation as processes of normation, which casts a light upon the relative import they place upon politics and ethics. (shrink)
In philosophical circles, Electress Sophie of Hanover (1630-1714) is known mainly as the friend, patron, and correspondent of Leibniz. While many scholars acknowledge Sophie's interest in philosophy, some also claim that Sophie dabbled in philosophy herself, but did not do so either seriously or competently. In this paper I show that such a view is incorrect, and that Sophie did make interesting philosophical contributions of her own, principally concerning the nature of mind and thought.
Girls learn the lesson of cognitive deference most clearly, perhaps, growing up in patriarchal families. Taught to discount their own judgments and to depend on those of the family's dominant men, they lose self-trust and cannot take themselves seriously as moral deliberators. I argue that through the telling of counterstories, which undermine normative stories of oppression, it is sometimes possible for women to reclaim these families as places where they have cognitive authority.