This paper suggests the adoption of a ‘capability approach’ to key concepts in healthcare. Recent developments in theoretical approaches to concepts such as ‘health’ and ‘disease’ are discussed, and a trend identified of thinking of health as a matter of having the capability to cope with life’s demands. This approach is contrasted with the WHO definition of health and Boorse’s biostatistical account. We outline the ‘capability approach’, which has become standard in development ethics and economics, and show how existing work (...) in those areas can profitably be adapted to healthcare. Cases are used to illustrate the value of adopting a capability approach. (shrink)
This paper examines recent attempts to defend Rule-Consequentialism against a traditional objection. That objection takes the form of a dilemma, that either Rule-Consequentialism collapses into Act-Consequentialism or it is incoherent. Attempts to avoid this dilemma based on the idea that using RC has better results than using AC are rejected on the grounds that they conflate the ideas of a criterion of rightness and a decision procedure. Other strategies, Brad Hooker's prominent amongst them, involving the thought that RC need contain (...) no overarching concern to maximize the good are acknowledged to avoid the original dilemma, but lead to further problems of motivating and justifying RC in the absence of such a concern. The paper argues that Hooker's attempt to deal with these problems by using a 'Reflective Equilibrium plus method is unsuccessful. (shrink)
The concept of autonomy plays atleast two roles in moral theory. First, itprovides a source of constraints upon action:because I am autonomous you may not interferewith me, even for my own good. Second, itprovides a foundation for moral theory: humanautonomy has been thought by some to producemoral principles of a more general kind.This paper seeks to understand what autonomyis, and whether the autonomy of which we arecapable is able to serve these roles. We wouldnaturally hope for a concept of autonomy (...) thatis value-neutral rather than value-laden. Thatis to say, we would want the judgement that Iam autonomous to depend wholly on, say,structural features of my psychology, and in noway to require us to make ethical judgements, orother value judgements. Being value-neutral isperhaps desirable in a concept of autonomyserving the first role, and plausiblyindispensible in one playing the second. Ishall argue, however, that value-neutral conceptionsof autonomy are impoverished and out of linewith our intuitions; set out and defendan explicitly value-laden conception ofautonomy; and explore the implications of such a view for theability of autonomy to play the rolesmentioned above. (shrink)
The so-called ‘Humean’ view of motivation is pretty standard in the Philosophy of Mind. Its most prominent contemporary defender, Michael Smith, calls it a ‘dogma’. Humeans believe in a strict divide between beliefs and desires. Beliefs have no intrinsic motivating force: I may believe anything at all, but only with the contribution of a separate desire will I be motivated to act. This claim should be broadened out to include all cognitive states (belief, knowledge…). The Humean claim is that cognitive (...) states are wholly lacking in conative power. If some beliefs seem to us to motivate action, that can only be due to a contingent association with a separate conative state. (shrink)
Many people are uncomfortable with the idea that pleasure from certain sources is genuinely beneficial. These sources can be sorted into two classes: ones that involve others’ pain; and ones that involve what seems to be damage rather than benefit to the person involved. Here’s an example of the latter: a woman who claims that she enjoys her work performing in hard-core pornographic films. Some find it hard to take such a claim at face value – they instinctively assume that (...) the woman is insincere or self-deceived.1 The reason seems a strongly paternalistic one: because the activity is assumed to be bad, it’s thought that only someone who was in some way damaged could genuinely like it. A statement from Brian Hill, the director of a documentary about such women, illustrates this: ‘I felt certain that she couldn’t enjoy what she does, that there must be some reason why she’s undergoing this kind of experience. But there was nothing: no messed-up childhood, no sense of pain or humiliation.’ Forced to conclude that the woman in question really does enjoy her work, Hill changes his view to imply that the pleasure gained cannot be truly beneficial: ‘When I hear a young woman talking about doing videos of fisting and asphyxiation, I have to wonder what it’s doing to her – even if she says that she’s having fun.’. (shrink)
This paper argues that the demands of respect for autonomy in the context of biobanking are fewer and more limited than is often supposed. It discusses the difficulties of agreeing a concept of autonomy from which duties can easily be derived, and suggests an alternative way to determine what respect for autonomy in a biobanking context requires. These requirements, it argues, are limited to provision of adequate information and non-coercion. While neither of these is in itself negligible, this is a (...) smaller set of demands than is often suggested. In particular, it is argued here that securing ‘one time consent’ is consistent with respect for autonomy. Finally, the paper notes that while the demands of respect for autonomy may be less than some suppose, respecting autonomy is not the only way in which biobanks and their users may have moral duties to donors. (shrink)
As predicted by Duverger’s Law, the UK has two-party competition in each electoral district. However, there can be different patterns of two-party competition in different districts (currently there are five), so that there have usually been more than two effective parties in the Commons. Since 1874 it has always contained parties fighting seats in only one of the non-English parts of the Union. These parties wish to change the Union by strengthening, weakening, or dissolving it. By calculating the Penrose power (...) index for all parties in the House of Commons for all General Elections since 1874, we identify the occasions on which a party that wished to modify the Union was pivotal. We explain various acts (e.g, the Crofters Act 1886; the first three Irish Home Rule Bills; the Parliament Act 1911) and non-acts (e.g. the failure to enact female suffrage before 1914) by reference to the Penrose indices of the non-English parties. The indices also explain how and why policy towards Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland changed, and did not change, in the 1970s. (shrink)
In debates about human cloning, a distinction is frequently drawn between therapeutic and reproductive uses of the technology. Naturally enough, this distinction influences the way that the law is framed. The general consensus is that therapeutic cloning is less morally problematic than reproductive cloning — one can hold this position while holding that both are morally unacceptable — and the law frequently leaves the way open for some cloning for the sake of research into new therapeutic techniques while banning it (...) for reproductive purposes. We claim that the position adopted by the law has things the wrong way around: if we accept a moral distinction between therapeutic and reproductive cloning, there are actually more reasons to be morally worried about therapeutic cloning than about reproductive cloning. If cloning is the proper object of legal scrutiny, then, we ought to make sure that we are scrutinising the right kind of clone. (shrink)
This chapter provides a general overview and introduction to the law and ethics of virtual sexual assault. It offers a definition of the phenomenon and argues that there are six interesting types. It then asks and answers three questions: (i) should we criminalise virtual sexual assault? (ii) can you be held responsible for virtual sexual assault? and (iii) are there issues with 'consent' to virtual sexual activity that might make it difficult to prosecute or punish virtual sexual assault?
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)
This article examines the development of affirmative sexual consent in Canadian jurisprudence and legal theory and its adoption in Canadian law. Affirmative sexual consent requirements were explicitly proposed in Canadian legal literature in 1986, codified in the 1992 Criminal Code amendments, and recognized as an essential element of the common law and statutory definitions of sexual consent by the Supreme Court of Canada in a series of cases decided since 1994. Although sexual violence and non-enforcement of sexual assault laws are (...) worldwide phenomena, the international scholarly literature reflects limited awareness of these developments in Canadian law. This article remedies that gap in the literature. The Canadian experience with the definition of sexual consent as communicated “voluntary agreement” demonstrates the value of this conceptualization of consent; the definition provides a well-defined set of nondiscretionary reference points for legal analysis of the facts in sexual assault offenses. The effect is to facilitate effective enforcement of the sexual assault laws and affirm the right to sexual autonomy, sexual self-determination, and equality, consistent with fundamental principles of individual human rights. For all these reasons, familiarity with the Canadian experience may be useful to those engaged with the reform of rape and sexual assault laws in other jurisdictions. (shrink)
While Autonomous Weapons Systems have obvious military advantages, there are prima facie moral objections to using them. By way of general reply to these objections, I point out similarities between the structure of law and morality on the one hand and of automata on the other. I argue that these, plus the fact that automata can be designed to lack the biases and other failings of humans, require us to automate the formulation, administration, and enforcement of law as much as (...) possible, including the elements of law and morality that are operated by combatants in war. I suggest that, ethically speaking, deploying a legally competent robot in some legally regulated realm is not much different from deploying a more or less well-armed, vulnerable, obedient, or morally discerning soldier or general into battle, a police officer onto patrol, or a lawyer or judge into a trial. All feature automaticity in the sense of deputation to an agent we do not then directly control. Such relations are well understood and well-regulated in morality and law; so there is not much challenging philosophically in having robots be some of these agents — excepting the implications of the limits of robot technology at a given time for responsible deputation. I then consider this proposal in light of the differences between two conceptions of law. These are distinguished by whether each conception sees law as unambiguous rules inherently uncontroversial in each application; and I consider the prospects for robotizing law on each. Likewise for the prospects of robotizing moral theorizing and moral decision-making. Finally I identify certain elements of law and morality, noted by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, which robots can participate in only upon being able to set ends and emotionally invest in their attainment. One conclusion is that while affectless autonomous devices might be fit to rule us, they would not be fit to vote with us. For voting is a process for summing felt preferences, and affectless devices would have none to weigh into the sum. Since they don't care which outcomes obtain, they don't get to vote on which ones to bring about. (shrink)
In this ground-breaking article submitted for publication in mid-1986, Lucinda Vandervort creates a radically new and comprehensive theory of sexual consent as the unequivocal affirmative communication of voluntary agreement. She argues that consent is a social act of communication with normative effects. To consent is to waive a personal legal right to bodily integrity and relieve another person of a correlative legal duty. If the criminal law is to protect the individual’s right of sexual self-determination and physical autonomy, rather than (...) simply to regulate the type and degree of force that may be used to obtain compliance from a victim, the point of reference must be the individual complainant, as a person who makes choices, not social norms or objective tests based on the ordinary person. To determine whether consent is voluntary, attention must be directed to the presence or absence of factors that had a coercive impact on the individual complainant, a specific person with a collection of social, cultural, and psychological experiences, needs, fears, values, and priorities. Individuals have the right to exercise self-determination in accordance with their own values and perceptions, not those of a mythical victim. Accordingly, Vandervort argues that the prosecution may show either refusal, the absence of affirmative voluntary agreement (including passivity or the absence of consent due to unconsciousness), or circumstances that invalidate any apparent consent. Any of these prove the absence of consent for the purposes of establishing the actus reus of sexual assault. -/- The definition of consent as the affirmative communication of voluntary agreement is also shown to have a variety of implications for the interpretation and application of the law of sexual assault and the handling of evidentiary issues at trial in sexual assault cases. Key among these is the pivotal significance of the legal definition of consent as a tool to bar availability of the defence of “mistaken belief in consent.” Vandervort argues that in many cases the defence of “mistaken belief in consent” is based on ignorance of the law of consent, mistake about the legal definition of consent, or a failure to appreciate the legal significance of facts that are well-known, and not on a mistaken belief in an erroneous set of facts. The broad proposition asserted here is that a statutory criminal law is enforceable only if all defences based directly or indirectly on belief in the validity of extra-legal norms that authorize infringement of rights protected by the criminal law are barred. This proposition and the characterization of some mistakes about consent as legal, not factual, are also shown to be useful to exclude rape-myths and stereotypical assumptions---the stuff of which “social” definitions of consent have long been constructed---from the decision-making process at trial. -/- . (shrink)
This is a short introduction to a book symposium on Paul Gowder's recent book, _The Rule of Law in thee Real World_ (Cambridge University Press, 2016). The book symposium will appear in the St. Luis University Law Journal, 62 St. Louis U. L.J., -- (2018), with commentaries on Gowder's book by colleen Murphy, Robin West, Chad Flanders, and Matthew Lister, along with replies by Paul Gowder.
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)
This book articulates a systematic vision of an international legal system grounded in the commitment to justice for all persons. It provides a probing exploration of the moral issues involved in disputes about secession, ethno-national conflict, "the right of self-determination of peoples," human rights, and the legitimacy of the international legal system itself. Buchanan advances vigorous criticisms of the central dogmas of international relations and international law, arguing that the international legal system should make justice, not simply peace among states, (...) a primary goal, and rejecting the view that it is permissible for a state to conduct its foreign policies exclusively according to what is in the "national interest." He also shows that the only alternatives are not rigid adherence to existing international law or lawless chaos in which the world's one superpower pursues its own interests without constraints. This book not only criticizes the existing international legal order, but also offers morally defensible and practicable principles for reforming it. Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination will find a broad readership in political science, international law, and political philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the proposal that the law of torts exists to do justice, more specifically corrective justice, between the parties to a tort case. My aims include clarifying the proposal and defending it against some objections (as well as saving it from some defences that it could do without). Gradually the paper turns to a discussion of the rationale for doing corrective justice. I defend what I call the ‘continuity thesis’ according to which at least part of (...) the rationale for doing corrective justice is to mitigate one’s wrongs, including one’s torts. I try to show how much of the law of torts this thesis helps to explain, but also what it leaves unexplained. In the process I show (what I will discuss in a later companion paper) that ‘corrective justice’ cannot be a complete answer to the question of what tort law is for. (shrink)
A spectre is haunting legal positivists – and perhaps jurisprudes more generally – the spectre of the normativity of law. Whatever else law is, it is sometimes said, it is normative, and so whatever else a philosophical account of law accounts for, it should account for the normativity of law. But law is at least partially a social matter, its content at least partially determined by social practices. And how can something social and descriptive in this down-to-earth kind of way (...) be normative? This is presumably a problem for any theory of law, but it is especially acute for legal positivism, according to which (roughly speaking) all there is to facts about legality are such descriptive social facts. If this is so, the thought goes, the task of accommodating the law’s normativity immediately becomes both more daunting, and more urgent. Unfortunately, though, it is entirely unclear what the problem of the normativity of law is supposed to be. Indeed, I suspect that there is no one problem here, as different people seem to have in mind different problems when they use this unhelpful phrase. At least one family of issues people seem to have in mind when they talk about the normativity of law is a host of issues pertaining to the reason-giving force of the law. The law, it is sometimes said, gives reasons for action, and a theory of law should accommodate this obvious fact. But even when we focus just on questions regarding the reason-giving force of the law (and from now on I will restrict myself to just those, leaving other things people may have in mind when they talk about the normativity of law for another occasion), it is still not clear what the problem is. Indeed, my main purpose in this paper is to make some progress in understanding the relevant question here. And my conclusion is going to be somewhat skeptical: Once we are clear on what reason-giving in general consists in, and on what reason-giving powers the law actually has, there is not much by way of a problem here that needs to be solved, not a deep and interesting phenomenon here that theories of law need to accommodate, and that therefore places adequacy constraints on plausible theories of the nature of law.. (shrink)
Through a critical engagement with Jeremy Waldron’s work, as well as the work of other writers, I offer an account of the relative scope of the morality of war, the laws of war, and war crimes. I propose an instrumentalist account of the laws of war, according to which the laws of war should help soldiers conform to the morality of war. The instrumentalist account supports Waldron’s conclusion that the laws of war justifiably prohibit attacks on civilians even if it (...) turns out that some civilians lack a moral right not to be killed. Importantly, the instrumentalist account also offers what Waldron thinks impossible: a non-consequentialist defense of the failure of the laws of war to prohibit the killing of nonthreatening combatants. Finally, I argue that new war crimes can be broader than the morality of war as well as established laws of war and that many of the arguments for defining war crimes more narrowly than either the morality of war or the laws of war are unconvincing. In all of these ways, I hope to carry forward Waldron’s project of exploring the relationship between law and morality in war. (shrink)
The revisionist critique of conventional just war theory has undoubtedly scored some important victories. Walzer’s elegantly unified defense of combatant legal equality and noncombatant immunity has been seriously undermined. This critical success has not, however, been matched by positive arguments, which when applied to the messy reality of war would deprive states and soldiers of the permission to fight wars that are plausibly thought to be justified. The appeal to law that is sought to resolve this objection by casting it (...) as a practical concern, a pragmatic worry about implementation, which while germane to debates over the laws of war, need not undermine our convictions in the fundamental principles the revisionists advocate. This response is inadequate. Revisionists have not shown that soldiers should obey the laws of war, in practice, when they conflict with their other moral reasons – our worries about application remain intact. Moreover, a theory of war that offers only an account of the laws of war, and a set of fundamental principles developed in abstraction from feasibility constraints, is radically incomplete. We need to know how to apply those fundamental principles, and whether, when applied, they lead to defensible conclusions. Only two options seem to remain. Perhaps the revisionists’ arguments for their chosen fundamental principles are sufficiently compelling that we should stick with them, and accept their troubling conclusions – in other words, accept pacifism. Alternatively, we need to revise our fundamental principles, so that when applied they yield conclusions that we can more confidently endorse. -/- Though it does not save the revisionist view from the responsibility dilemma and cognate objections, the appeal to law does raise an important, and previously inadequately theorized, question – or, rather, resurrects a neglected topic, discussed in depth by historical just war theorists such as Grotius and Vattel. There are good grounds for distinguishing the laws of war from the morality of war, and for adjusting the former to accommodate predictable noncompliance, that should not impact on our account of the latter. Nonetheless, I have argued that there are some profound moral insights underlying both combatant legal equality and noncombatant immunity: specifically, we cannot infer from a combatant’s side having not satisfied jus ad bellum that he may not justifiably use lethal force; and other things equal, it is more wrongful to harm a nonliable noncombatant than to harm a nonliable combatant. (shrink)
My analysis here is an attempt to bring out the main through-line in the development of Bulgarian philosophy of law today. A proper account of Bulgarian philosophy of law in the 20th century requires an attempt to find, on the one hand, a solution to epistemological and methodological problems in law and, on the other, a clear-cut influence of the Kantian critical tradition. Bulgarian philosophy of law follows a complicated path, ranging from acceptance and revision of Kantian philosophy to the (...) development of interesting theories on the logic of legal reasoning. (shrink)
American criminal law is committed to some version of the doctrine of double effect. In this paper, I defend a new variant of the agent-centered rationale for a version of DDE that is of particular relevance to the criminal law. In particular, I argue for a non-absolute version of DDE that concerns the relative culpability of intending a bad or wrongful state of affairs as opposed to bringing it about merely knowingly. My aim is to identify a particular feature of (...) the former in virtue of which it is pro tanto more culpable than the latter. Providing an agent-centered argument of this kind for a culpability version of DDE, I argue, is an especially attractive route to take for those who are interested in vindicating the way the criminal law actually encodes DDE. (shrink)
Demonstrating that a developing norm is not yet well established in international law is frequently thought to show that states are not bound by the norm as law. More precisely, showing that a purported international legal norm has only limited support from well-established international legal sources is normally seen as sufficient to rebut an obligation on the part of subjects to comply with the norm in virtue of its legal status. I contend that this view is mistaken. Nascent norms of (...) international law (e.g., crystallizing norms of customary law) can be binding in much the same way as better-established doctrine. This point becomes perspicuous, I argue, once we get a clear sense of the plausible options for grounding the moral authority of international law generally. -/- This result is interesting in its own right, but it also reveals two other features of the character of state responsibility under international law. First, the distinction between legislation and compliance is less pronounced compared to domestic law. Consequently, the virtues of good governance will frequently be pertinent to determining the content of states’ obligations under international law. Second, normally more powerful and influential agents will be more strongly bound by international law than other subjects. This is an attractive result, addressing a concern that motivates many international lawyers to view international law as absolutely binding. An absolutist view international legal authority is unnecessary for showing that the most powerful and dangerous states are strongly bound by the terms of much existing law. (shrink)
This article proposes a rigorous method to “map” the law on to the facts in the legal analysis of “sexual consent” using a series of mandatory questions of law designed to eliminate the legal errors often made by decision-makers who routinely rely on personal beliefs about and attitudes towards “normal sexual behavior” in screening and deciding cases. In Canada, sexual consent is affirmative consent, the communication by words or conduct of “voluntary agreement” to a specific sexual activity, with a specific (...) person. As in many jurisdictions, however, the sexual assault laws are often not enforced. Reporting is lowest and non-enforcement highest in cases involving the most common type of assailants, those who are not strangers but instead persons the complainant knows, often quite well -- acquaintances, supervisors or co-workers, and family members. Reliance on popular narratives about “seduction” and “stranger-danger” leads complainants, police, prosecutors, lawyers, and trial judges, to truncate legal analysis of the facts and leap to erroneous conclusions about “consent.” Wrongful convictions and perverse acquittals, questionable plea bargains and ill-considered decisions not to charge, result. This proposal is designed to curtail the impact of pre-judgments, assumptions, and biases in legal reasoning about voluntariness and affirmative agreement and produce decisions that are legally sound, based on the application of the rule of law to the material facts. Law has long had better tools than the age-old and popular tales of “ravishment” and “seduction.” Those tools can and should be used. (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)
Current challenges in medical practice, research, and administration demand physicians who are familiar with bioethics, health law, and health economics. Curriculum directors at American Association of Medical Colleges-affiliated medical schools were sent confidential surveys requesting the number of required hours of the above subjects and the years in which they were taught, as well as instructor names. The number of relevant publications since 1990 for each named instructor was assessed by a PubMed search.In sum, teaching in all three subjects combined (...) comprises less than two percent of the total hours in the American medical curriculum, and most instructors have not recently published articles in the fields they teach. This suggests that medical schools should reevaluate their curricula and instructors in bioethics, health law, and health economics. (shrink)
Recent years have seen mounting challenge to the model of the criminal trial on the grounds it is not cost-effective, not preventive, not necessary, not appropriate, or not effective. These challenges have led to changes in the scope of the criminal law, in criminal procedure, and in the nature and use of criminal trials. These changes include greater use of diversion, of fixed penalties, of summary trials, of hybrid civilâcriminal processes, of strict liability, of incentives to plead guilty, and of (...) preventive orders. The paper will assess the implications of these changes for the function of the criminal law, assessing the reasons behind them, and examining whether or not they are to be welcomed. Identifying the larger import of these changes draws attention to the changing relationship between state and citizen as well as changes in the nature of the state itself. These can in turn be attributed to a jostling among the different manifestations of the authoritarian state, the preventive state, and the regulatory state. These changes have profound normative implications for a liberal theory of the criminal law that require its re-articulation and its defence. A modest start may be to insist that where the conduct is criminal and the consequences are punitive the protections of criminal procedure and trial must be upheld. (shrink)
We provide a retrospective of 25 years of the International Conference on AI and Law, which was first held in 1987. Fifty papers have been selected from the thirteen conferences and each of them is described in a short subsection individually written by one of the 24 authors. These subsections attempt to place the paper discussed in the context of the development of AI and Law, while often offering some personal reactions and reflections. As a whole, the subsections build into (...) a history of the last quarter century of the field, and provide some insights into where it has come from, where it is now, and where it might go. (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)
This paper describes and defends a novel and distinctively egalitarian conception of the rule of law. Official behavior is to be governed by preexisting, public rules that do not draw irrelevant distinctions between the subjects of law. If these demands are satisfied, a state achieves vertical equality between officials and ordinary people and horizontal legal equality among ordinary people.
The paper argues for attaching a significant role to the dignity of offenders as a limitation on the scope of substantive criminal law. Three different aspects of human dignity are discussed. Human dignity is closely connected with the principle of culpability. Respecting the dignity of offenders requires that we assign criminal liability according to the actual attitudes of the offenders towards the interests protected by the offence. The doctrine of natural and probable consequence of complicity, which allows us to assign (...) liability for mens rea offenses to a negligent offender, violates the dignity of the offender; it treats the incautious offender as if she had willfully expressed disrespect towards the protected interest. The human dignity core of privacy is invaded by criminalizing the private possession of child pornography. By extending the prohibition of the creation, sale and distribution of child pornography to the private possession of pornography, the State attempts to control the way the individual expresses an essential part of the self—his sexual fantasies—within himself. Dignity demands that our actions convey an attitude of respect towards human beings. The expressive meaning of disrespect is culture-dependent. The historical association with totalitarian regimes explains our reluctance to impose a legal duty to report past crime: the individual who is legally required to turn a suspect into the police is viewed as an “informant.”. (shrink)
Autopoietic theory is increasingly seen as a candidate for a radical theory of law, both in relation to its theoretical credentials and its relevance in terms of new and emerging forms of law. An aspect of the theory that has remained less developed, however, is its material side, and more concretely the theory’s accommodation of bodies, space, objects and their claim to legal agency. The present article reads Luhmann’s theory of autopoietic systems in a radical and material manner, linking it (...) on the one hand to current post-structural theorisations of law and society, and on the other hand extending its ambit to accommodate the influx of material considerations that have been working their way through various other disciplines. The latter comprises both a materialisation of the theory itself and ways of conceptualising the legal system as material through and through. This I do by further developing what I have called Critical Autopoiesis, namely an acentric, topological, post-ecological and posthuman understanding of Luhmann’s theory, that draws on Deleuzian thought, feminist theory, geography, non-representational theory, and new material and object-oriented ontologies. These are combined with some well-rehearsed autopoietic concepts, such as distinction, environment and boundaries; Luhmann’s earlier work on materiality continuum; more recent work on bodies and space; as well as his work on form and medium in relation to art. The article concludes with five suggestions for an understanding of what critical autopoietic materiality might mean for law. (shrink)
Because its business is to resolve disputed issues, the law very often calls on those fields of science where the pressure of commercial interests is most severe. Because the legal system aspires to handle disputes promptly, the scientific questions to which it seeks answers will often be those for which all the evidence is not yet in. Because of its case-specificity, the legal system often demands answers of a kind science is not well-equipped to supply; and, for related reasons, constitutes (...) virtually the entire market for certain fields of forensic science and for certain psychiatric specialties. Because of its adversarial character, the law tends to draw in scientists who are more willing than most to give an opinion on less-than-overwhelming evidence; and the more often such a witness testifies, the more unbudgeably confident he may become in his opinion. Legal rules can make it impossible to bring potentially useful scientific information to light, and the legal penchant for “indicia” and the like can transform scientific subtleties into legal shibboleths. And because of its concern for precedent, and the desideratum of finality, the law sometimes lags behind scientific advances. (shrink)
Author Jeremy Waldron has thoroughly revised thirteen of his most recent essays in order to offer a comprehensive critique of the idea of the judicial review of legislation. He argues that a belief in rights is not the same as a commitment to a Bill of Rights. This book presents legislation by a representative assembly as a form of law making which is especially apt for a society whose members disagree with one another about fundamental issues of principle.
Joseph Raz argues that legal authority includes a claim by the law to replace subjects’ contrary reasons. I reply that this cannot be squared with the existence of choice-of-evils defenses to criminal prosecutions, nor with the view that the law has gaps (which Raz shares). If the function of authority is to get individuals to comply better with reason than they would do if left to their own devices, it would not make sense for law to claim both to pre-empt (...) our contrary reasons and to leave open spaces or catch-all exceptions which we must use our own devices to fill. (shrink)
Many assume that whenever government is entitled to make a law, it is entitled to enforce that law coercively. I argue that the justification of legal authority and the justification of governmental coercion come apart. Both in ideal theory and in actual human societies, governments are sometimes entitled to make laws that they are not entitled to enforce coercively.
This Article defines four distinct conceptions of cruelty found in underdeveloped form in domestic and international criminal law sources. The definition is analytical, focusing on the types of agency, victimization, causality, and values in each conception of cruelty. But no definition of cruelty will do justice to its object until complemented by the kind of understanding practical reason provides of the implications of the phenomenon of cruelty. -/- No one should be neutral in relation to cruelty. Eminently, cruelty in criminal (...) law, a human-created phenomenon, vigorously calls for responses in the form of preventive and corrective action on the part of private and public actors. It is in this sense that cruelty is a problem of practical reason, one of action preoccupied with its legal or moral obligations, rational grounds, value commitments, and actual consequences. -/- However, the connection between conceptions of cruelty and the implications practical reason can draw from the correct application of a conception of cruelty to phenomena in the world remains too detached to be able to capture and explain people's actual experiences both of seeing cruelty in the world and of confronting the question of what to do about cruelty and how to address its cultural and institutional aspects. Something is missing. -/- What is missing is the integration of conceptions of cruelty and the practical reason implications of detecting cruelty in the world into normative models which operate as meaning matrixes for cognition, meaning, and action. This Article undertakes this explanatory task through an exercise of reconstructing seminal philosophical ideas about cruelty. The result is that the four conceptions of cruelty are placed within three distinct normative models, which ultimately render intelligible legal conceptions of cruelty and legal reactions to it. (shrink)
The criminal law depends upon 'commonsense' or 'folk' psychology, a seemingly innate theory used by all normal human beings as a means to understand and predict other humans' behavior. This paper discusses two major types of arguments that commonsense psychology is not a true theory of human behavior, and thus should be eliminated and replaced. The paper argues that eliminitivist projects fail to provide evidence that commonsense psychology is a false theory, and argues that there is no need to seek (...) a replacement theory of behavior for use in the criminal law. (shrink)