Semantic originalism is a theory of constitutional meaning that aims to disentangle the semantic, legal, and normative strands of debates in constitutional theory about the role of original meaning in constitutional interpretation and construction. This theory affirms four theses: (1) the fixation thesis, (2) the clause meaning thesis, (3) the contribution thesis, and (4) the fidelity thesis. -/- The fixation thesis claims that the semantic content of each constitutional provision is fixed at the time the provision is framed and ratified: (...) subsequent changes in linguistic practice cannot change the semantic content of an utterance. -/- The clause meaning thesis claims that the semantic content is given by the conventional semantic meaning (or original public meaning) of the text with four modifications. The first modification is provided by the publicly available context of constitutional utterance: words and phrases that might be ambiguous in isolation can become clear in light of those circumstances of framing and ratification that could be expected to known to interpreters of the Constitution across time. The second modification is provided by the idea of the division of linguistic labor: some constitutional provisions, such as the natural born citizen clause may be terms of art, the meaning of which are fixed by the usages of experts. The third modification is provided by the idea of constitutional implicature: the constitution may mean things it does not explicitly say. The fourth modification is provided by the idea of constitutional stipulations: the constitution brings into being new terms such as House of Representatives and the meaning of these terms is stipulated by the Constitution itself. -/- The contribution thesis asserts that the semantic content of the Constitution contributes to the law: the most plausible version of the contribution thesis is modest, claiming that the semantic content of the Constitution provides rules of constitutional law, subject to various qualifications. Our constitutional practice provides strong evidence for the modest version of the contribution thesis. -/- The fidelity thesis asserts that we have good reasons to affirm fidelity to constitutional law: virtuous citizens and officials are disposed to act in accord with the Constitution; right acting citizens and officials obey the constitution in normal circumstances; constitutional conformity produces good consequences. Our public political culture affirms the great value of the rule of law. -/- We can summarize semantic originalism as a slogan: The original public meaning of the constitution is the law and for that reason it should be respected and obeyed. The slogan recapitulates each of the claims made by semantic originalism, but it is potentially misleading because it does not clearly distinguish between the semantic claims made by the fixation and clause meaning theses, the legal claim made by the contribution thesis, and the normative claim made by the fidelity thesis. -/- Part I introduces the four theses. Part II is entitled An Opinionated History of Constitutional Originalism, and it provides the context for all that follows. Part III is entitled Semantic Originalism: A Theory of Constitutional Meaning, and it lays out the case for original public meaning as the best nonnormative theory of constitutional content. Part IV is entitled The Normative Implications of Semantic Originalism, and it articulates a variety of normative arguments for originalism. Part V is entitled Conclusion: Semantic Originalism and Living Constitutionalism, and it explores the broad implications of semantic originalism for living constitutionalism and the future of constitutional theory. (shrink)
How to respond to unauthorized migration and migrants is one of the most difficult questions in relation to migration theory and policy. In this commentary on Gillian Brock’s discussion of “irregular” migration, I do not attempt to give a fully satisfactory account of how to respond to unauthorized migration, but rather, using Brock’s discussion, try to highlight what I see as the most important difficulties in crafting an acceptable account, and raise some problems with the approach that Brock takes. In (...) thinking about unauthorized migration, both while trying to craft positive policies and while critiquing existing practices, we need to ask if we are most interested in a general account of how to respond to unauthorized migration, one that would apply to the large majority of cases and provide us a default approach, or if we are better served by taking a piecemeal approach, looking at why certain people or certain groups should be exempt from removal, even if they would otherwise be liable to it. In this paper, I will focus primarily on this distinction, and argue that it is at least important to provide an account of the "generic unauthorized". (shrink)
A collection of the author's new and reprinted papers in general jurisprudence. Chapters: -/- Introduction: A Philosophy of Legal Philosophy -/- Law, As Such 1. The Concept of Law Revisited 2. Law as a Means 3. Custom and Convention at the Foundations of Law 4. Realism and the Sources of Law 5. Feminism in Jurisprudence -/- Law and Morality 6. The Germ of Justice 7. The Inseparability of Law and Morals 8. The Morality in Law 9. The Role of a (...) Judge 10. Should Law Improve Morality? -/- The Demands of Law 11. Hume on Allegiance 12. Associative Obligations and the State 13. The Forces of Law 14. The Duty to Govern. (shrink)
Law-enforcement agencies are increasingly able to leverage crime statistics to make risk predictions for particular individuals, employing a form of inference that some condemn as violating the right to be “treated as an individual.” I suggest that the right encodes agents’ entitlement to a fair distribution of the burdens and benefits of the rule of law. Rather than precluding statistical prediction, it requires that citizens be able to anticipate which variables will be used as predictors and act intentionally to avoid (...) them. Furthermore, it condemns reliance on various indexes of distributive injustice, or unchosen properties, as evidence of law-breaking. (shrink)
The passionate and staunch defence of logic of the controversial thinker Ibn Ḥazm, Abū Muḥammad ʿAlī b. Aḥmad b. Saʿīd of Córdoba (384-456/994-1064), had lasting consequences in the Islamic world. Indeed, his book Facilitating the Understanding of the Rules of Logic and Introduction Thereto, with Common Expressions and Juristic Examples (Kitāb al-Taqrīb li-ḥadd al-manṭiq wa-l-mudkhal ilayhi bi-l-alfāẓ al-ʿāmmiyya wa-l-amthila al-fiqhiyya), composed in 1025-1029, was well known and discussed during and after his time; and it paved the way for the studies (...) of his compatriots Ibn Bājjah (d. 1138), Ibn Ṭufayl (1185), and Ibn Rushd (1198), who each gave demonstrative reasoning a privileged place within the methods of attaining knowledge. Unfortunately, as too often in the history of science, Ibn Ḥazm’s innovative perspectives and contributions in logic have been overlooked or considered with an attitude of contempt. On the one hand, his work has been seen, at best, as promulgating the benefits of studying Aristotle’s logic, so that his contribution is assessed as more didactical than conceptual. And on the other hand, those who do examine his innovations often consider them to be mistaken. As indicated by Chejne (1984, p. 2) contempt towards the logical work of Ibn Ḥazm was also present in its reception by the Eastern philosophers who accused him of deviating from Aristotelian logic and of dabbling in things beyond his capability. However, a reassessment of his work on logic has since begun, by delving into the ways the thinker of Córdoba studied the links between deontic and modal qualification of propositions. In this context Lameer’s (2013) paper on the logical sources of Ibn Ḥazm is worth mentioning; the author (p. 417, footnote 1) observes that, although, strictly speaking, it was al-Fārābī who first drew the parallelism between deontic and modal concepts, it was Ibn Ḥazm who developed it and worked it out in a more precise manner. A primary aim of this paper is to help fill some of these gaps by stressing the role of the work of Ibn Ḥazm in developing a notion of deontic necessity deeply rooted in legal normativity, and in explicitly discussing the transference between deontic and modal concepts. According to our view; the basic units of Islamic deontic logic are what we might call, indulging in terminological anachronism, heteronomous imperatives. As it turns out, the heteronomy of imperatives within Islamic legal systems contrasts with those of the purely moral realm, which seem to be closer to an autonomous conception of moral law. There it concurs again with Leibniz’s proposal to define obligatory as “what is necessary for a good person to do”. In the present paper, we will focus on the heteronomous imperatives of legal systems rather than on the imperatives of the purely moral realm. In this context, the work of Ibn Ḥazm extends the parallelism between the necessity of events and that of human actions stressed by his predecessors. According to our understanding, Ibn Ḥazm’s parallelism can be rendered explicit formally by means of a conditional (or hypothetical) structure shared by both deontic and modal propositions. Moreover, this structure makes apparent that this parallelism displays an underlying system of “degrees”. Indeed, while in the domain of events, given some conditions, it makes sense to distinguish between an event that is more likely to happen than another. Ibn Ḥazm speaks of near and distant possibility (such as the higher degree of likelihood of rain, given the condensation of clouds in December, and its lower degree, when the condensation occurs in summer); and, in the domain of actions, the Islamic notion of weighting actions determines degrees of virtue (or of legal and moral value). So whereas the degree of virtue of performing a forbidden act as determined by the distribution of sanction and reward is 0, we obtain the same value by pondering the likelihood of an impossible event to take place. Furthermore, as discussed in section II.3.2, the system of values at work in the parallelism can be seen as opening the way to a more direct correspondence. Thus, while in the realm of nature, likelihood of occurrence of an event is dependent upon the conditions specific to the occurrence of that event; while, in the realm of jurisprudence, likelihood of performing an action is dependent upon the distribution of reward and sanction specific to that action (being that, given the choice to perform or not perform a given action, those that will be rewarded are more likely to be performed than those that are not). According to this perspective, the point of the parallelism is that both deontic and modal qualifications measure the degree of an action or event to become actual; that is – indulging once more in anachronism (but this time from the Leibnizian background) – the degree measures how feasible (facile) an action or event may be. This suggests that Ibn Ḥazm’s perspectives already herald the links to probability and possibility explored by Leibniz six centuries later – see for example Leibniz’s (1671, A VI, I, p. 424-26) use of probability in the context of conditional right. Nevertheless, it also shows a crucial difference to the approach developed in the Elementa Jura Naturalis: whereas Leibniz’s studies seek to define what is to be just or virtuous, the logical system of deontic imperatives within Islamic jurisprudence presupposes that what is to be virtuous has already been settled. Determining what is to be virtuous is not achieved by logical reasoning within the system of legal jurisprudence, but by delving into the higher objectives of the Sharīʿa. While developing our point, we will delve into the logical structure of the heteronomous imperatives. This distinguishes our contribution from the existing literature, such as the papers of Chejne (1984), Lameer (2014), and Guerrero (1997, 2010, 2014), which do not provide a logical analysis of the deontic concepts put into work by Ibn Ḥazm. The true antecedent to the present paper is the work of Farid Zidani (2007, 2015), who, so far as we know, was the first to undertake such a task. Some of our own developments and general epistemological thoughts go beyond Ibn Ḥazm’s framework and motivations; mainly those contained in sections II.3.2 and IV. However, according to our view, these reflections suggest that Ibn Ḥazm’s approach has the substance for a broader and deeper exploration of the logic of norms. The paper is structured as follows:I.Ibn Ḥazm’s Logic of Heteronomous Imperatives. After presenting some extracts of the relevant text, we proceed by providing a formal reconstruction of the five forms of deontic modalities. II. A Landmark in the History of the Logical Analysis of Norms. Duties and Modalities. In this section, we study the transferences from deontic to modal necessity and possibility. We briefly compare the deontic system of Islamic Jurisprudence with that of Leibniz.III. Leibniz and Hypothetical Imperatives in Law.IV. Beyond Ibn Ḥazm: Conclusions and the Work Ahead. We will conclude the paper by discussing briefly some conceptual points that distinguish the logic of heteronomous imperatives from contemporary deontic logic. Our final words will discuss deontic-modal parallelism in the context of Ibn Ḥazm’s rejection of reasoning by conjecture and what we call “the internalization of nature.”. (shrink)
This article demonstrates a priori cosmopolitan values of restraint and harm limitation exist to establish a cosmopolitan “no-harm” duty in warfare, predating utilitarianism and permeating modern international humanitarian law. In doing so, the author exposes the atemporal and ahistorical nature of utilitarianism which introduces chaos and brutality into the international legal system. Part 2 conceptualises the duty as derived from the “no-harm” principle under international environmental law. Part 3 frames the discussion within legal pluralism and cosmopolitan ethics, arguing that divergent (...) legal jurisdictions without an international authority necessitates a “public international sphere” to mediate differences leading to strong value-commitment norm-creation. One such norm is the “no-harm” duty in warfare. Part 4 traces the duty to the Stoics, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, African traditional culture, Hinduism, and Confucianism. Parts 5 and 6 explain how the duty manifests in principles of distinction and proportionality under international humanitarian law. (shrink)
Tommie Shelby’s Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform is a powerful indictment of how the basic structure of American institutions fail the seriously disadvantaged. Though motivated by what we collectively owe “ghetto” citizens, when exploring criminal law, Shelby instinctively turns his attention to what duties, if any, the disadvantaged have to obey the criminal law. This paper argues that our persistent focus on the obligations of the disadvantaged is a mistake. Instead, we should examine the duties of the advantaged to (...) resist and repudiate the criminal law. First, because the systemic injustices of the criminal law secure unjust advantages for too many “ordinary” citizens, it renders their successes unjust spoils. Second, the criminal law chews through lives and communities in the ghetto in the name of the advantaged. Third, White citizens have a unique duty to reject the racist elements of the criminal justice system and repudiate its claims that the lives of racial minorities are worth less than their own. The paper then explores various ways that advantaged citizens can repudiate the criminal law in the service of greater equality. (shrink)
There are often public calls to codify moral sentiments after failures to help others, and recent tragedies have renewed interest in one’s legal duty to aid another. This Article examines the moral underpinnings and legitimacy of so-called “Bad Samaritan” laws—laws that criminalize failures to aid others in emergency situations. Part I examines the theoretical backdrop of duties imposed by Bad Samaritan laws, including their relationship with various moral duties to aid. This leads to the analysis in Part II, which examines (...) two related questions that are raised when moving from moral to legal duties: First, on what ground does the state have the authority to dictate that one’s needs should be met in the way specified by a particular legal duty? Second, does a special relationship exist that legitimizes the establishment of such legal duties? (shrink)
The assumption that coercion is largely responsible for our legal systems’ efficacy is a common one. I argue that this assumption is false. But I do so indirectly, by objecting to a thesis I call “(Compliance)”, which holds that most citizens comply with most legal mandates most of the time at least partly in virtue of being motivated by legal systems’ threats of sanctions and other unwelcome consequences. The relationship between (Compliance) and the efficacy of legal systems is explained in (...) section 1. There I also show that (Compliance) must be rejected for it relies on unsubstantiated empirical assumptions. In section 2, I claim that an alternative, and more refined, formulation of (Compliance) also lacks adequate support. I conclude with a few general remarks about the centrality of coercion in our thought and talk about legal systems. (shrink)
This article argues that the disjunctive obligation in contract law can be justified on moral grounds. It argues that from a perspective that regards human beings as free agents capable of choice and therefore independent of material objects, the contracting parties must be understood as agreeing to mutually guarantee one another's ownership of a certain value. This guarantee can be fulfilled either by handing over what was promised or by making up the difference between the market value and the contract (...) value of what was promised. The plaintiff's contractual right is therefore a right that the defendant perform or pay. This makes expectation damages intelligible as a vindication of the plaintiff's contractual right. Moreover, the disjunctive obligation can be reconciled with all the doctrines that others take to be decisive arguments against it—with the doctrines of specific performance, inducing breach, impossibility, preexisting duty consideration, and nominal damages. (shrink)
This paper examines whether an agent becomes liable to defensive harm by engaging in a morally permissible but foreseeably risk-imposing activity that subsequently threatens objectively unjustified harm. It first clarifies the notion of a foreseeably risk-imposing activity by proposing that an activity should count as foreseeably risk-imposing if an agent may morally permissibly perform it only if she abides by certain duties of care. Those who argue that engaging in such an activity can render an agent liable to defensive harm (...) ground this liability in the luck egalitarian thought that we may justly hold individuals responsible for the consequences of their voluntary choices. Against this, I argue that a luck egalitarian commitment to holding people responsible cannot, by itself, ground liability to defensive harm. It can help ground such liability only against the backdrop of a distributively just society, and only if further considerations speak morally in favour of attaching certain well-defined costs to individuals’ risk-imposing choices. I conclude by suggesting that if an account of liability applies robustly across distributively just and unjust contexts alike, then what grounds an agent’s liability is plausibly not her responsibility for threatening objectively unjustified harm, but her culpability for doing so. (shrink)
“One who elects to serve mankind by taking the law into his own hands thereby demonstrates his conviction that his own ability to determine policy is superior to democratic decision making. [Defendants’] professed unselfish motivation, rather than a justification, actually identifies a form of arrogance which organized society cannot tolerate.” Those were the words of Justice Harris L. Hartz at the sentencing hearing of three nuns convicted of trespassing and vandalizing government property to demonstrate against U.S. foreign policy. Citizens engaging (...) in civil disobedience are indeed at times accused of being arrogant because they apparently think their own political judgment is superior to that of the democratic majority. This paper examines and evaluates the claim that dissenters are epistemically arrogant. Contrary to the dominant viewpoint in the literature, I argue that epistemic arrogance involves inflating the epistemic worth of one’s view. Indeed, the most plausible charge against civil dissenters consists of two claims: (A) civil dissenters have a higher degree of rational certainty in P than is warranted, and (B) civil dissenters use a method of expression that requires a higher level of rational certainty than is warranted in the propositions that their political view is right and the injustice they fight is substantial. I argue that civil disobedience does not necessarily involve epistemic arrogance. Whether an act of civil disobedience evinces epistemic arrogance has to be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the extent to which each dissenter lives up to (A) and (B). (shrink)
Compromise is surprisingly common in the context of religious freedom. In Holt v. Hobbs, for example, a Muslim prison inmate challenged his prison’s no-beards policy on religious freedom grounds. He proposed, and was eventually granted, a compromise that allowed him to grow a half-inch beard rather than the full beard normally required by his beliefs. Some have argued that such a compromise is inconsistent with the purpose of religious freedom, which is to guard against interference with an individual’s religious practices. (...) Accepting a compromise, after all, may require a significant modification to one’s default practices. But this paper argues that compromise can be appropriate if the purpose of religious freedom is to foster the inclusion and acceptance of all people in a diverse political community. Moreover, the benefits of compromise may lend support to the inclusion-based conception of religious freedom as against the more traditional non-interference conception. (shrink)
This article argues that the notion of a promissory right captures a central feature of the morality of promising which cannot be explained by the notion of promissory obligation alone: the fact that the promisee acquires a full range of control over the promisor’s obligation. It defends two main claims. First, it argues that promissory rights are distinctively grounded in our interest in controlling others’ deontic world. Second, it proposes a version of the ‘Interest Theory’ of rights that incorporates our (...) interest in purely deontic forms of control into the various human interests that constitute the grounds of our rights. (shrink)
This chapter examines the tension between the justification and the punishment of civil disobedience, and theorists’ common solutions to it, by focusing on two central questions: first, should the state punish civil disobedience? Second, should the civil disobedient accept punishment? It presents the theoretical lay of the land on each of these questions, with particular attention to American jurisprudence on civil disobedience. The third part takes a step back to ask anew, how should we think about civil disobedience? and uncovers (...) some problematic assumptions behind the common theoretical approach to the “problem” of civil disobedience. (shrink)
ABSTRACTTo whom is a duty owed? Contractualism answers with an interest theory of direction. As such, it faces three challenges. The Conceptual Challenge requires acknowledgment that a duty is conceptually distinct from an interest. The Extensional Challenge requires an account of cases in which one who is owed a duty does not take an interest in the duty, or does not take as much of an interest as someone who is not owed the duty. The Positivist Challenge requires explanation of (...) the great flexibility of law and other social practices in positing duties that do not reflect the landscape of moral interests. Contractualism can be shown to meet these challenges once we acknowledge the centrality of the idea of a generic interest. Focusing on generic interests also illuminates the distinctive form of respect involved in directedness. (shrink)
I suggest a new role for authority and interest in the theory of right: Rights can be explicated as sets of prohibitions, permissions and commands, and they must be justified by interests. I argue as follows: (1) The two dominant theories of right—“Will Theory” and “Interest Theory”—have certain standard problems. (2) These problems are systematic: Will Theory’s criterion of the ability to enforce a duty is either false or empty outside of its original legal context, whereas Interest Theory includes in (...) the definition of a right what actually belongs to the justification of the practice within which that right is assigned. (3) I recast the connection between authority, interests and rights in a way that avoids each theory’s standard problem. (4) The resulting theory also has three further advantages: It analyzes rights in terms of very basic and familiar concepts; it mirrors the understanding of rights in actual public discourse, and it is compatible with a wide selection of moral theories. Since its core is about a specific use of modal auxiliary verbs, I call this new theory the “Modal Theory of Right.”. (shrink)
In this brief, we argue that there is a diversity of ways in which humans (Homo sapiens) are ‘persons’ and there are no non-arbitrary conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can include all humans and exclude all nonhuman animals. To do so we describe and assess the four most prominent conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can be found in the rulings concerning Kiko and Tommy, with particular focus on the most recent decision, Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc v Lavery.
Many believe that a citizen who engages in civil disobedience is not exempt from the sanctions that apply to standard law-breaking conduct. Since he is responsible for a deliberate breach of the law, he is also liable to punishment. Focusing on a conception of responsibility as answerability, I argue that a civil disobedient is responsible (i.e. answerable) to his fellows for the charges of wrongdoing, yet he is not liable to punishment merely for breaching the law. To support this claim, (...) I defend an account of political obligation framed in terms of respect for (rather than mere obedience to) the law, and argue that the mere illegality of civil disobedience does not suffice to establish wrongdoing. I then discuss and reject three objections to my argument. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that with regard to the President, the Emoluments Clause is not law. I argue for this on the basis of two premises. First, if something is a law, then it has a legal remedy. Second, EC does not have a legal remedy. This premise rests on one or more of the following assumptions: EC does not apply to the President; if EC were to apply to the President, it does not provide a remedy; or, if (...) EC were to apply to the President and have a remedy, it is not law because it is vague. The conclusion that EC does not apply to the President has a practical upshot. As a practical matter, President Trump’s worldwide business tentacles and his refusal to put his business assets into a blind trust does not violate EC and, arguably, does not violate federal conflict-of-interest law. (shrink)
A commitment to the rule of law is a commitment to the governance of a society through the use of general or generalisable rules which are binding on both the subjects and the rulers. By giving due notice of the rules and of any changes to them, those who are subject to the law are protected from violence and enabled to act as agents. This is the essential contribution the rule of law makes to important human goods including freedom. Such (...) an understanding of the rule of law illuminates why the law-like character of God and the revelation of God’s law make human free will meaningful and a relationship of love between God and human beings possible. A commitment to the rule of law also means that those exercising power have to offer justifications to explain why the rules are binding, which opens up space for debate about whether the rules are just. (shrink)
In contemporary positive law there are legal institutions, such as conscientious objection in the context of military service or “conscience clauses” in medical law, which for the sake of respect for judgments of conscience aim at restricting legal obligations. Such restrictions are postulated to protect human freedom in general. On the basis of Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy, it shall be argued that human dignity, understood as the existential perfection of a human being based on special unity, provides a foundation for imposing (...) limitations on the scope of legal obligations in general. Human freedom plays a crucial role in understanding dignity as perfection based on the special individuality of a personal being, which in turn is based on the free choice to pursue a unique way of life. Therefore, Aquinas’ argumentation is, at its core, liberal – the perfection rather than the imperfection of a human being underlies the requirement to limit legal obligations. Dignity understood as the special unity of a person also provides the basis for limiting obligations in the case of conscientious objection; however, in that case, such limitations aim at safeguarding internal integrity rather than the individualisation of a given way of life. _This project was financed with funds from the National Science Centre allocated on the basis of the decision number DEC-2013/09/B/HS5/04232._. (shrink)
Ronald Dworkin once identified the basic question of jurisprudence as: ‘What, in general, is a good reason for a decision by a court of law?’ I argue that, over the course of his career, Dworkin gave an essentially sound answer to this question. In fact, he gave a correct answer to a broader question: ‘What is a good reason for a legal decision, generally?’ For judges, officials of executive and administrative agencies, lawyers, non-governmental organizations, and ordinary subjects acting in the (...) variety of legal contexts, Dworkin identified the proper basis for a legal decision, and its implications for the form of well-conducted legal reasoning. Dworkin's stance on the above questions can be characterised by two theses. I defend his view by substantiating each. The result is agnostic about the viability of other aspects of Dworkin's legal theory, as it focuses on the grounds of proper legal decision-making. Whatever the fate of his other philosophical views, Dworkin's jurisprudence includes a clear-heade... (shrink)
1. Indeterminatezza costituiva della ragione pubblica e governo della legge; 2. Concetto e rule of law; 3. Concetto, linguaggio e obbedienza; 4. Chain novel e struttura normativa; 5. Contrastanti armonie.
Il breve saggio sul concetto di lex in Suárez evidenzia come la nota definizione di Tommaso d’Aquino, pur rappresentando un punto di riferimento imprescindibile nel dibattito giuridico, morale e teologico, possa esser riscritta. E l’innovazione del gesuita spagnolo si delinea in una definizione di legge, ove i termini intelletto e volontà sono posti in modo differente e il dialogo tra questi concetti generi una costruzione morale, che tenga conto della libertà della volontà dall’intelletto e da un ordo precostituito.
Se l’uomo è nato libero e non soggetto ad un suo pari, può obbligare un altro uomo senza cadere nella tirannia? È la domanda a cui Suárez cerca di dare risposta attraverso lo studio della legge, interpretata come una manifestazione dell’intelletto e della volontà, ovvero le due componenti che, in continuo ed armonico dialogo, sono la base di una nuova costruzione morale. Il gesuita riscrive il rapporto tra Creatore e creatura, da un lato, e il rapporto tra obbligo politico e (...) libertà, dall’altro, tenendo conto che l’uomo è naturalmente inserito nell’ambito dello Stato e sottomesso alla sua giurisdizione, senza tuttavia alcuna abdicazione da parte sua. Nella posizione filosofica di Suárez si scopre la nascita di una teoria sistematica della comunità politica, incentrata sulla dialettica tra rottura e continuità temporale con i temi della scolastica e del nascente. (shrink)
In Sovereignty’s Promise: The State as Fiduciary, Evan Fox-Decent uses the idea of fiduciary relationships to explain the legitimate exercise of governmental authority. He makes use of the idea of the state as a fiduciary for the people to ground an account of the duty to obey the law, to explain the proper relationships between colonial (or “settler”) societies and aboriginal populations, the role of agency discretion and judicial review in the administrative state, the rule of law, the relationship between (...) law and morality, and the foundations of human rights. While I was not convinced by several of the arguments, the book does have many important virtues. In particular, it provides a clear discussion of the idea of fiduciary relationships and duties that is useful for, and should be largely accessible to, non-lawyers. And, though I do not think that Fox-Decent has established all that he hoped to in the book, he does a good job of showing how fiduciary relationships are relevant to the above issues and worth considering. (shrink)
This paper is a short commentary on Michelle Dempsey's contribution to a symposium on the work of John Finnis which took place at Villanova Law School in the fall of 2011. It focuses on Finnis's claim that there is a presumptive obligation to obey the law and some worries that Dempsey raises against this claim. It is forthcoming, along with several other papers from the symposium, in the Villanova Law Review.
Why obey the state? Dorota Mokrosińska presents a fresh analysis of the most influential theories of political obligation and develops a novel approach to this foundational problem of political philosophy, an intriguing combination of the elements of natural duty and associative theories. The theory of political obligation developed in the book extends the scope of the contemporary debate on political obligation by arguing that political obligation can be binding even under the jurisdiction of unjust states. The arguments pursued in the (...) book are illustrated with the results of sociological research concerning the reasons that governed people's attitudes to the authoritarian communist regimes in East Europe viz. communist Poland. This book provides the first detailed argument of how a theory of political obligation can apply to subjects of an unjust state. (shrink)
The idea that law claims authority (LCA) has recently been forcefully criticized by a number of authors. These authors present a new and intriguing objection, arguing that law cannot be said to claim authority if such a claim is not justified. That is, these authors argue that the view that law does not have authority viciously conflicts with the view that law claims authority. I will call this the normative critique of LCA. In this article, I assess the normative critique (...) of LCA, focusing predominantly on the arguments presented by its most incisive proponent Philip Soper. I defend a twofold conclusion. First, LCA, understood roughly along the lines put forward by Joseph Raz, is part of the most attractive analysis of law. Second, proponents of the normative critique, and in particular Soper, are committed to accepting LCA. (shrink)
How do promissory obligations get created? Some have thought that the answer to this question must make reference to our social practice of promising. Recently, however, T.M. Scanlon has argued (in his book What We Owe to Each Other) for a pure ‘expectation view’ of promising, according to which promissory obligations arise as a result of our producing certain expectations in others. He formulates a principle of fidelity (Principle F) that tells us when one has gained an obligation due to (...) producing expectations in another, and he maintains that breaking one's promise is merely a special instance of violation against Principle F. Though initially compelling, Scanlon’s account is ultimately unsatisfactory because it is subject to a vicious circularity. In order to get out of the circle, we are forced to resort back to elements of a social practice view of promising. Thus we arrive at a hybrid view of promissory obligation, which weds parts of Scanlon’s expectation view with parts of a social practice view. After briefly examining and rejecting Scanlon’s pure expectation view, I consider the hybrid view of Niko Kolodny and R. Jay Wallace. I present a serious objection to the hybrid view as they formulate it and go on to construct a modified hybrid view. Finally, I defend my modified hybrid view from certain pressing objections. (shrink)
I clarify Kant's classification of duties and criticize the apocryphal tradition that, according to Kant, perfect duties trump imperfect duties. I then use Kant's view to argue that judges who believe that an action is immoral and should be illegal need not set aside their beliefs in order to comply with binding precedents that permit the action. The same view of morality that causes some people to oppose certain actions, including abortion, requires lower–court judges to comply with binding precedents. Therefore, (...) someone's opposition to legal abortion, by itself, does not justify opposing that person's nomination to a lower court. (shrink)
The eight jural relations defined by Wesley Hohfeld unite the many legal relationships that exist in American law. Together they are all part of a single structure, and this structure forms both a normal curve and a square of opposition. The two images express the process of legal analysis.
We argue on consequentialist grounds for the transfer of Sandai, an orangutan, to an orangutan sanctuary. First, we show that satisfying his interest in being transferred brings far greater value than the value achieved by keeping him confined. Second, we show that he has the capacities sufficient for personhood. Third, we show that all persons have a right to relative liberty insofar as they have interests they can exercise only under conditions of relative liberty. Fourth, we show that individuals need (...) not be able to assume social obligations and duties in order to be rights holders. -/- Our argument reflects commitments, as we say, to consequentialist reasoning about moral problems. However, we note that influential representatives of the other dominant ethical traditions—the deontological and Aristotelian traditions—reach our conclusion, too. It makes no difference, in this instance, which ethical theory one adopts. Under all of them, Sandai is a person with an interest in relative liberty entitled to habeas corpus protection. (shrink)