Jewish law takes an approach to self-defense that differs dramatically from the conventional assumptions of Western secular legal systems. The central theme of Talmudic jurisprudence is that self-defense rests on a duty not to stand idly by while one's neighbor suffers. “Do not stand on the blood of one's neighbor,” as the point is cryptically put in Leviticus 19:16. This way of thinking about self-defense departs in two significant ways from common Western assumptions. First, it stresses that the roots of (...) self-defense are a duty rather than a right to act; second, it treats the case of third-party defense as logically prior to the first-party case of self -defense. (shrink)
For people to live together in pluralistic communities, they must find someway to cope with the practices of others that they abhor. For that reason, tolerance has always seemed an appealing medium of accommodation. But tolerance also has its critics. One wing charges that the tolerant are too easygoing. They are insensitive to evil in their midst. At the same time, another wing attacks the tolerant for being too weak in their sentimentsof respect. “The Christian does not wish to be (...) tolerated,” as T. S. Eliot said; and by this he meant to claim, presumably, that the Christian desires respect and acceptance, and not merely the forbearance suggested by “tolerance.” To make the case for tolerance, we must engage in a three-front campaign: first, against intolerance; second, against the moral failing of indifference; and third, against the desirability of respecting and accepting everyone. The central claim in making this case will be that unlike these three competing sentiments, tolerance is a complex attitude toward the behavior and beliefs of others. Its complexity consists in both moral disapproval and the avoidance of interference. If there is a case to be made for tolerance, it must derive from this peculiar complexity. After surveying its alternatives, I will argue that the complex sentimentof tolerance is more readily praised than its alternatives. (shrink)
In this chapter we explore two important questions that we believe should be central to any discussion of the ethics and politics of cultural heritage: What are the harms associated with appropriation and commodification, specifically where the heritage of Indigenous peoples is concerned? And how can these harms best be avoided? Archaeological concerns animate this discussion; we are ultimately concerned with fostering postcolonial archaeological practices. But we situate these questions in a broader context, addressing them as they arise in connection (...) with the appropriation of Indigenous cultural heritage, both past and present. (shrink)
The Grammar of Criminal Law is a 3-volume work that addresses the field of international and comparative criminal law, with its primary focus on the issues of international concern, ranging from genocide, to domestic efforts to combat terrorism, to torture, and to other international crimes. The first volume is devoted to foundational issues. The Grammar of Criminal Law is unique in its systematic emphasis on the relationship between language and legal theory; there is no comparable comparative study of legal language. (...) Written in the spirit of Fletcher's classic Rethinking Criminal Law, this work is essential reading in the field of international and comparative law. (shrink)
Professor Fletcher challenges the traditional account of the development of tort doctrine as a shift from an unmoral standard of strict liability for directly causing harm to a moral standard based on fault. He then sets out two paradigms of liability to serve as constructs for understanding competing ideological viewpoints about the proper role of tort sanctions. He asserts that the paradigm of reciprocity, which looks only to the degree of risk imposed by the parties to a lawsuit on each (...) other, and to the existence of possible excusing conditions, provides greater protection of individual interests than the paradigm of reasonableness, which assigns liability instrumentally on the basis of a utilitarian calculus. Finally, Professor Fletcher examines stylistic differences between the two paradigms which may explain the modern preference for the paradigm of reasonableness. (shrink)
In this one-of-a-kind text, George P. Fletcher, a renowned legal theorist, offers a provocative yet accessible overview of the basics of legal thought. The first section of the book is designed to introduce the reader to fundamental concepts such as the rule of law and deciding cases under the law. It continues with an analysis of the values of justice, desert, consent, and equality, as they figure into our judgment of legal cultures in terms of soundness and legitimacy. The final (...) chapters address the problems of morality and consistency in the law. In each case the author not only introduces the basic ideas but considers important arguments in the contemporary literature and raises original claims of his own. Ideally suited for courses in the philosophy of law, legal issues, and jurisprudence, Basic Concepts of Legal Thought fills a void in the literature, as there is no other volume that both eases law students into the mysteries of legal philosophy and provides an introduction to the legal mind for non-lawyers. (shrink)
In the theory of rights we repeatedly encounter the problem of reconciling someone’s having a right, with his properly suffering damage to the interest protected by the right. In the case of right to life, we have to assess numerous cases in which individuals are killed or allowed to die, and yet we wish nonetheless to affirm their right to life. These cases include killing an aggressor in self-defense, accidental homicide, terminating life-sustaining therapy, and capital punishment.
Methuselah, it is said, lived 969 years. His state of health at death is not revealed. It can only be surmised that he was surely not robust and, no doubt, was subject to all of the infirmities of old age and the tragic indignities associated with senility.Jonathan Swift captured well the “curse” of immortality when, in Gulliver's Travels, he created a group of individuals, the Struldbrugs, who, when encountered, dulled what had heretofore been an appetite for perpetual life. The Struldbrugs (...) were allowed to be born totally exempt from the “calamity of human Nature,” in that their minds were free “and disingaged, without the Weight and De pression of Spirits caused by the continued Apprehension of Death.” They were thus condemned “to a perpetual continuance in the World.” In his travels, Gulliver found some Struldbrugs well over 1,000 years old. (shrink)
Not everyone finds a in suffering. Indeed, even those who do subscribe to this interpretation recognize the responsibility of each individual to show not only sensitivity and compassion but render assistance to those in distress. Pharmacologic hypnosis, morphine intoxication, and terminal sedation provide their own type of medical to the terminally ill patient suffering unremitting pain. More and more states are enacting legislation that recognizes this need of the dying to receive relief through regulated administration of controlled substances. Wider legislative (...) recognition of this need would go far toward allowing physicians, in the exercise of their reasonable medical judgment, to administer a range of narcotics and barbiturates to the terminally ill without fear of legal sanctions. Sadly, social attitudes and governmental concerns about the spread of drug addiction provide an undeniable policy nexus that impedes unduly a rational approach or exception for the treatment of pain experienced by the dying. (shrink)
The precise nature of the relationship between Lucan's epic De Bello Civili and Petronius' essay on the same theme1 has proved one of the most intractable and perplexing interpretative problems of the Satyrica. Some have regarded Petronius' version as a straightforward parody of Lucan's; others have adopted the almost contrary view that Petronius is offering a ‘fair copy’ designed to show how Lucan might have treated his material in a more appropriate manner.
One would expect venditabat to imply that the rustic is attempting to sell the tunic in a fairly aggressive manner: he is not merely ‘offering it for sale’ , but ‘crying it up’. Yet he is doing so fastidiose and tamquam mendici spolium. These two latter notions do not cohere at all well with the former; and in any case, we are not particularly concerned with the vehemence of the rustic's salesmanship, but rather with how much he has manhandled the (...) tunic. I therefore propose to read ventilabat for venditabat: ‘was waving it about’, an expression which gives an intelligible picture of the scene. The corruption, which is easy enough in itself, may have received an additional stimulus from vendentis two lines below. (shrink)