The wrongness of rape -- Rationality and the rule of law in offences against the person -- Complicity and causality -- In defence of defences -- Justifications and reasons -- The gist of excuses -- Fletcher on offences and defences -- Provocation and pluralism -- The mark of responsibility -- The functions and justifications of criminal law and punishment -- Crime : in proportion and in perspective -- Reply to critics.
This book collects John Gardner's celebrated essays on the theory of private law, alongside two new essays. Together they range across the central puzzles in understanding the significance of outcomes, the role of justice in private law, strict liability, the reasonable person standard, and the role of public policy in tort law.
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)
In this paper I attempt a general explanation of the role played by the reasonable person in law, especially but not only in the common law. I relate my explanation to some problems about the very nature of law, and some problems about the ideal of the rule of law.
Socially responsible investment is a rapidly emerging phenomenon within the field of personal investment. However, the factors that lead investors to choose socially responsible investment products are not well understood, especially in an Australian context. This study provides a comparative examination of conventional and socially responsible investors, with the aim of identifying such factors. A total of 55 conventional investors and 54 ethical investors participated in the study by completing mailed questionnaires about their investment and general behaviour and their attitudes (...) and beliefs. Results indicated some important differences between socially responsible and conventional investors in their beliefs of the importance of ethical issues, their investment decision-making style, and their perceptions of moral intensity. These results support the notion that socially responsible investors differ in critical ways to conventional investors, and are discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications. (shrink)
This paper considers some aspects of the morality of complicity, understood as participation in the wrongs of another. The central question is whether there is some way of participating in the wrongs of another other than by making a causal contribution to them. I suggest that there is not. In defending this view I encounter, and resist, the claim that it undermines the distinction between principals and accomplices. I argue that this distinction is embedded in the structure of rational agency.
Law as a leap of faith -- Legal positivism : 5 1/2 myths -- Some types of law -- Can there be a written constitution? -- How law claims, what law claims -- Nearly natural law -- The legality of law -- The supposed formality of the rule of law -- Hart on legality, justice, and morality -- The virtue of justice and the character of law -- Law in general.
Deep brain stimulation is an effective treatment for the debilitating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. However, clinicians and commentators have noted that DBS recipients have not necessarily experienced the improvements in quality of life that would be expected, due in large part to what have been described as the ‘psychosocial’ impacts of DBS. The premise of this paper is that, in order to realise the full potential of DBS and similar interventions, clinical services need to be (...) arranged in such a way that these psychosocial dimensions are recognised and managed. Our starting point is that the psychosocial effects of DBS ‘in the field’ present us with analytically-useful disruptions: they disturb and foreground deeply held assumptions relating to the individual, health and its treatment, and which in a crude form manifest as the myth of technological solutionism within health care. Drawing on scholarship in medical sociology and science and technology studies, we argue that DBS brings to the fore the relational dimensions of personhood, and demonstrates the emotional and social turmoil that can result if the relational dimensions of personhood are ignored by clinical services. In light of this, we argue that DBS should be implemented within a regime of care. Drawing on ethnographic research of a paediatric DBS clinical service, we provide an example of a regime of care, and conclude by reflecting on what other DBS services might learn from this paediatric service. (shrink)
Sometimes emotions excuse. Fear and anger, for example, sometimes excuse under the headings of (respectively) duress and provocation. Although most legal systems draw the line at this point, the list of potentially excusatory emotions outside the law seems to be longer. One can readily imagine cases in which, for example, grief or despair could be cited as part of a case for relaxing or even eliminating our negative verdicts on those who performed admittedly unjustified wrongs. To be sure, the availability (...) of such excuses depends on what wrong one is trying to excuse. No excuse is available in respect of all wrongs. Some wrongs, indeed, are inexcusable. This throws up the interesting question of what makes a particular emotion apt to excuse a particular wrong. Why is fear, for example, more apt to excuse more serious wrongs than, say, pride or shame? This question leads naturally to another. Why are some emotions, such as lust, greed, and envy, apparently not apt to furnish any excuses at all? Can one not be overcome by them? Can they not drive one to wrongdoing as readily as fear and grief? Or is that not the point? (shrink)
This paper tackles three common misconceptions about responsibility. The first misconception is that it is against our interests to be responsible for our actions. The second is that our responsibility for our actions is fixed at the time when we act. The third is that we can only be responsible to someone in particular, not responsible full stop. The three misconceptions turn out to be related, and disabusing ourselves of them helps us to rediscover the most fundamental point of the (...) courtroom trial. (shrink)
In this paper, written for a volume on the work of Robert Alexy, I discuss the idea that law makes certain distinctive claims, an idea familiar from the work of both Alexy and Joseph Raz. I begin by refuting some criticisms by Ronald Dworkin of the very idea of law as a claim-maker. I then discuss whether, as Alexy and Raz agree, law's claim is a moral one. Having arrived at an affirmative verdict, I discuss the content of law's moral (...) claim. Is it, as Alexy says, a claim to moral correctness? Or is it, as Raz says, a claim to moral authority? (shrink)
THE ELEMENTARY MORAL DISTINCTION. The ultimate objects of moral assessment are people and their lives. I will call this the "elementary moral distinction." Many today seem to have lost sight of it. How often are we told that we should show respect for other people, only to discover that what we are actually being asked to show respect for is how those other people live? The equation of the two should be resisted. We do not always respect a person by (...) respecting how he lives. Sometimes quite the reverse. If someone is wasting his life but still deserves to be respected, the default way to show him the respect that he deserves is to do something that improves the way he is living- shake him out of it, block his path, change his incentives, shield him from further exploitation, and so forth. Sometimes, of course, there is no action open to us that will yield any improvement in how he lives, while on other occasions the only things we can do are disproportionate. In such cases we have to tolerate his continuing to live as badly he does. But toleration is one thing, and respect is quite another. Toleration is the moral virtue of those who appropriately curb their wish to eliminate what they do not respect. One cannot respect the way someone is living and tolerate it at the same time. (shrink)
This is my reply to five extended critical assessments of my book Law as a Leap of Faith, appearing together in a symposium issue of Law and Philosophy. The critics are Kevin Toh, Luís Duarte d’Almeida and James Edwards, Fábio Perin Shecaira, Cristina Redondo, and Matthew Smith. The topics include H.L.A. Hart’s philosophical legacy, the moral claims of law, the nature of legal reasoning, the doctrine of legal positivism, and the possibility of alienation from law.
Social scientists have drawn attention to the role of hype and optimistic visions of the future in providing momentum to biomedical innovation projects by encouraging innovation alliances. In this article, we show how less optimistic, uncertain, and modest visions of the future can also provide innovation projects with momentum. Scholars have highlighted the need for clinicians to carefully manage the expectations of their prospective patients. Using the example of a pioneering clinical team providing deep brain stimulation to children and young (...) people with movement disorders, we show how clinicians confront this requirement by drawing on their professional knowledge and clinical expertise to construct visions of the future with their prospective patients; visions which are personalized, modest, and tainted with uncertainty. We refer to this vision-constructing work as recalibration, and we argue that recalibration enables clinicians to manage the tension between the highly optimistic and hyped visions of the future that surround novel biomedical interventions, and the exigencies of delivering those interventions in a clinical setting. Drawing on work from science and technology studies, we suggest that recalibration enrolls patients in an innovation alliance by creating a shared understanding of how the “effectiveness” of an innovation shall be judged. (shrink)
Michael Moore and I agree about the moral importance of how our actions turn out. We even agree about some of the arguments that establish that moral importance. In Causation and Responsibility, however, Moore foregrounds one argument that I do not find persuasive or even helpful. In fact I doubt whether it even qualifies as an argument. He calls it the “experiential argument.” In this comment I attempt to analyze Moore's “experiential argument” in some detail and thereby to bring out (...) why it does not help. In the process I raise some problems about the rationality of the emotions, which may be where Moore and I part company. We both believe that emotions should be taken more seriously by moral philosophy. But apparently we have radically different views about what this means. (shrink)
This paper takes some first steps in a study of the thesis that “ought” implies “can.” Considerable attention is given to the proper interpretation of the thesis, including the interpretation of “ought,” the interpretation of “can,” and the interpretation of “implies.” Having chosen a particular interpretation of the thesis to work on—in some ways its broadest interpretation—the paper tries to bring out some considerations that bear on its truth or falsity. After an excursion into the general theory of value, this (...) paper finds it false. The paper concludes with the suggestion that part of its allure comes of confusion with another thesis, namely the thesis that “ought to try” implies “can succeed.” Suitably qualified, this last thesis is true, and the false thesis that “ought” implies “can” basks in the reflected glory. Left for another day are narrower interpretations of “ought” implies “can” which may protect it against my objections. (shrink)
In a recent paper in the Yale Law Journal, Malcolm Thorburn argued that to enjoy a justificatory defence in the criminal law is to have a normative power that is exercised in the circumstances which give rise to the justification. He also argued that where such powers are conferred on private citizens, those citizens should be understood as acting as public officials pro tempore when they exercise them. In this extended reply, I resist both propositions and reply to some of (...) the criticisms that Thorburn makes of my own rival views. I also take the opportunity to explore, philosophically, some of the criminal law relating to consent, self-defence and arrest, and to discuss the connections between the debate over the nature of criminal-law justifications and the debate over the nature of law. (shrink)
In 2013 the Nuffield Council on Bioethics launched their report Novel Neurotechnologies: Intervening in the Brain. The report, which adopts the European Commission’s notion of Responsible Research and Innovation, puts forward a set of priorities to guide ethical research into, and the development of, new therapeutic neurotechnologies. In this paper, we critically engage with these priorities. We argue that the Nuffield Council’s priorities, and the Responsible Research and Innovation initiative as a whole, are laudable and should guide research and innovation (...) in all areas of healthcare. However, we argue that operationalising Responsible Research and Innovation requires an in-depth understanding of the research and clinical contexts. Providing such an understanding is an important task for empirical ethics. Drawing on examples from sociology, science and technology studies, and related disciplines, we propose four avenues of social science research which can provide such an understanding. We suggest that these avenues can provide a manifesto for empirical ethics. (shrink)
This article contains the author's responses to five critics of his book Law as a Leap of Faith whose criticisms appear in this journal. The critics are Kimberley Brownlee, Antony Hatzistavrou, Kristen Rundle, Sari Kisilevsky and Nicola Lacey. The criticisms and responses pick up the following fifteen themes from the book: law, morality, society, explanation, continuity, rationality, ends, instruments, values, justice, allocation, games, modalities, generalities, jurisprudence.
HLA Hart has sometimes been associated with the false proposition that there is 'no necessary connection between law and morality'. Nigel Simmonds is the latest critic to make the association. He offers an 'ironic' interpretation of a famous passage in Hart's The Concept of Law in which the proposition is apparently rejected as false by Hart. In this paper I explain why, even if Simmonds's ironic interpretation is tenable, it does not associate Hart with the proposition in the way that (...) Simmonds believes that it does. More affirmatively, I show that among several necessary connections between law and morality that Hart defends, there is an important indirect one that runs from law to legality, from legality to justice, and from justice to morality. (shrink)
The existence of unwritten constitutions, such as that of the UK, strikes some as puzzling. However the existence of unwritten constitutions turns out to be easier to explain than the existence of written constitutions, such as that of the US. In this paper I explore, and attempt to answer, some tricky conceptual questions thrown up by written constitutions.
Recently, much attention has been paid to ‘rational requirements’ and, especially, to what I call ‘rational requirements of formal coherence as such’. These requirements are satisfied just when our attitudes are formally coherent: for example, when our beliefs do not contradict each other. Nevertheless, these requirements are puzzling. In particular, it is unclear why we should satisfy them. In light of this, I explore the conjecture that there are no requirements of formal coherence. I do so by trying to construct (...) a theory of error for the idea that there are such requirements. (shrink)
In this article we consider and cast doubt on two doctrines given prominence and prestige by the utilitarian tradition in ethics. According to the interest theory of value, value is realized only in the advancement of people's interests. According to the well-being theory of interests, people's interests are advanced only in the augmentation of their well-being. We argue that it is possible to resist these doctrines without abandoning the value-humanist doctrine that the value of anything has to be explained in (...) terms of its potential to contribute to human lives and their quality. (Published Online November 24 2006). (shrink)
In this challenging collection of new essays, leading philosophers and criminal lawyers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada break with the tradition of treating the philosophical foundations of criminal law as an adjunct to the study of punishment. Focusing clearly on the central issues of moral luck, mistake, and mental illness, this volume aims to reorient the study of criminal law. In the process of retrieving valuable material from traditional law classifications, the contributors break down false associations, (...) reveal hidden truths, and establish new patterns of thought. Their always illuminating and sometimes startling conclusions makes this essential reading for all those interested in the philosophy of criminal law. (shrink)