The use of vague language in law has important implications for legal theory. Legal philosophers have occasionally grappled with those implications, but they have not come to grips with the characteristic phenomenon of vagueness: the sorites paradox. I discuss the paradox, and claim that it poses problems for some legal theorists. I propose that a good account of vagueness will have three consequences for legal theory: Theories that deny that vagueness in formulations of the law leads to discretion in adjudication (...) cannot accommodate “higher-order” vagueness, A legal theory should accept that the law is partly indeterminate when it can be stated in vague language, However, the traditional formulation of the indeterminacy claim, that a vague statement is “neither true nor false” in a borderline case, is misconceived and should be abandoned. (shrink)
"Clearly written and provides students, bewildered by a first confrontation with Aristotle, with a key that will open the door to many of the chief ideas of the philosopher. I would also recommend it as a refreshing read to the more advanced philosopher.... just what the professor ordered as the supplement to reading the original text in a course, especially an undergraduate one." --Joseph A. Novak, University of Waterloo.
The book trade of the early fourteenth century was in a period of transition. Because of the growing number of literate people in London and the reestablishment of English as the preferred vernacular, more books and more book producers were needed. While the demand for books was increasing, the traditional places of book production were disappearing. Noël Denholm-Young points out that “from perhaps the second half of the thirteenth century monasteries were ceasing … to produce their own manuscripts.”.
In the face of climate change, moral motivation is central: why should individuals feel compelled to act to combat this problem? Justice-based responses miss two morally salient issues: that the key ethical relationship is between us and the environment, and there is something in it for us to act to aid our environment. In support of this thesis there are two seemingly disparate sources: Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si and the early Marx’s account of human essence as species-being. Francis argues (...) we must see nature as an “other” with whom we have a relationship, rather than dominating nature. Marx considers how we currently interact with “others,” and the harms these interactions cause to us. In both contexts, we harm our environment by not acting to meet its needs, and harm ourselves by making it less likely to develop ourselves as more fully human persons. It is the avoidance of these harms that can motivate us to act against climate change. (shrink)
The author argues that philosophers' attempts to use philosophy of language to solve problems of jurisprudence have often failed- the most dramatic failure being that of Jeremy Bentham. H.L.A.Hart made some related mistakes in his creative use of philosophy of language, yet his focus on language still yields some very significant insights for jurisprudence: the context principle (that the correct application of linguistic expressions typically depends on context in ways that are important for jurisprudence), the diversity principle (that grounds of (...) correct application of legal language may be diverse), and the importance of vagueness. (shrink)
Even to disagree, we need to understand each other. If I reject what you say without understanding you, we will only have the illusion of a disagreement. You will be asserting one thing and I will be denying another. Even to disagree, we need some agreement.
This article examines the concurrent validity of the Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini Research & Analytics corporate social performance measures. Because KLD changed its evaluation methods to richer approaches, a new look at the concurrent validity of the indicators is necessary. To do this new look, the authors examine the new “Binary” and “Continuous” versions of the KLD and compare them with previous versions of KLD. The results suggest that the continuous scores provide better measurement characteristics than do the binary version. Overall, (...) the new versions of the KLD data demonstrate concurrent validity with the original version. (shrink)
What can a philosophical analysis of the concept of interpretation contribute to legal theory? In his recent book,Interpretation and Legal Theory, Andrei Marmor proposes a complex and ambitious analysis as groundwork for his positivist assault on “interpretive” theories of law and of language. I argue (i) that the crucial element in Marmor's analysis of interpretation is his treatment of Ludwig Wittgenstein's remarks on following rules, and (ii) that a less ambitious analysis of interpretation than Marmor's can take better advantage of (...) those insights about rules. I explore some implications of such an analysis for the role of interpretation in legal reasoning. (shrink)
This is a response to Val Plumwood's critique of Plato and an overview of the way in which Plato provides a viable environmental vision. This vision sees the realm of nature as rooted in the realm of logos, and human beings as sojourners who are nonetheless integral parts of nature and whose vocation is to act as mediators between the two realms thereby bringing nature into even greater participation in logos. To fulfill the human vocation, one must come to an (...) awareness of the logos by purging oneself of the sham values which permeate society and distort one's understanding of reality. (shrink)
Metaphysical theories of change incorporate substantive commitments to theories of persistence. The two most prominent classes of such theories are endurantism and perdurantism. Defenders of endurance-style accounts of change, such as Klein, Hinchliff, and Oderberg, do so through appeal to a priori intuitions about change. We argue that this methodology is understandable but mistaken—an adequate metaphysics of change must accommodate all experiences of change, not merely intuitions about a limited variety of cases. Once we examine additional experiences of change, particularly (...) those in (special) relativistic circumstances, it becomes clear that only a perdurance account of change is adequate. (shrink)
No community fully achieves the ideal of the rule of law. Puzzles about the content of the ideal seem to make it necessarily unattainable (and, therefore, an incoherent ideal). Legal systems necessarily contain vague laws. They typically allow for change in the law, they typically provide for unreviewable official decisions, and they never regulate every aspect of the life of a community. It may seem that the ideal can never be achieved because of these features of legal practice. But I (...) ask what counts as a ‘deficit’ in the rule of law, and I argue that none of these features of legal practice necessarily amounts to a deficit. I conclude that communities fail to achieve the rule of law only because of official infidelity to law, and the failure of lawmakers to pursue the ideal (or their decision not to pursue it). The rule of law is not necessarily unattainable. (shrink)
This article addresses the claim that language (and therefore law) is radically indeterminate: that no question of the meaning or application of a linguistic expression has a single right answer. I conclude not only that the claim is wrong, but that, in spite of appearances, no one actually makes it. The allegations of radical indeterminacy made by various legal sceptics dissolve into reminders of the widespread vagueness of legal language, reminders of the importance of context, or reminders of the possibility (...) of argument for a departure from or change to the law. Those reminders reflect the practice of sensible lawyers who never give unqualified opinions, except for consumption of the other side, even when the language of the law is clear. Linguistic determinacy should not mislead judges into thinking that the law always requires one decision, or that it will always be possible to make a just decision in every case. Though 'just' and 'unjust', too, have some clear cases. (shrink)
This work re-examines the divisive wisdom that Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians. Challenging the recent consensus that the Corinthians' wisdom was rooted primarily in the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition, Timothy A. Brookins offers a revisionary thesis centered on discourse similarities between the perspective of the Corinthian 'wise' and the Stoic system of thought. Brookins argues that several members of the church, after hearing Paul's initial gospel message, construed that message in terms of Stoic philosophy and began promoting a kind of (...) 'Stoic-Christian' perspective that helped to precipitate divisions in the church. Being apprised of their views, Paul then exploited the 'Stoic' discourse of his opponents in order to sustain common discursive ground. In addition to providing a fresh synthesis of the data in 1 Corinthians, Brookins brings in cutting-edge research on the ancient economy as he explores questions related to philosophical education and social status within the church community. (shrink)
Environmental ethicists have frequently criticized ancient Greek philosophy as anti-environmental for a view of philosophy that is counterproductive to environmental ethics and a view of the world that puts nature at the disposal of people. This provocative collection of original essays reexamines the views of nature and ecology found in the thought of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and Plotinus. Recognizing that these thinkers were not confronted with the environmental degradation that threatens contemporary philosophers, the contributors to this book find that (...) the Greeks nevertheless provide an excellent foundation for a sound theory of environmentalism. (shrink)
_Growing up with Parents who have Learning Difficulties_ uses a life-story approach to present new evidence about how children from such families manage the transition to adulthood, and about the longer-term outcomes of such an upbringing. It offers a view of parental competence as a social attribute rather than an individual skill, assessing the implications for institutional policies and practices. The authors address the notion of children having to parent their disabled parents and argue for a shift in emphasis from (...) protecting children to supporting families. This innovative book provides a fresh approach to a subject rife with prejudice and challenges us to think again about many taken-for-granted ideas about the process of parenting and the needs of children. It also demonstrates the power of narrative research and its capacity for bringing alive people's experience in a way that enables us to better understand their lives. (shrink)
Including over one hundred fifty pages of new material, a new introduction, enhanced headnotes, and an updated list of further readings, this significantly expanded anthology provides a rich selection of traditional and modern works that reflect the many ways in which philosophers have attempted to address the question of the existence of God.
In fundamental rights adjudication, should judges defer to the judgment of other decision makers? How can they defer, without betraying the respect that judges ought to accord those rights? How can they refuse to defer, without betraying the respect that judges ought to accord to other decision makers? I argue that only principles of comity justify deference, and their reach is limited. Comity never forbids the judges to take and to act upon a different view of fundamental rights from that (...) of another decision maker. I elaborate this view by reference to the decision of the House of Lords in Adan and Aitseguer  1 All ER 593. (shrink)
While previous research suggests that individuals who humanize their companion animals may have insufficient human social support, researchers have not examined the relation between companion-animal anthropomorphism and the health of animal guardians while taking into consideration their human social support levels. It was hypothesized that dog guardians with low levels of human social support would have poorer health if they engaged in high rather than low levels of anthropomorphism, while the health of dog guardians with high levels of human social (...) support would not vary depending on their anthropomorphism levels. A sample of 203 Canadian dog guardians completed an online survey. Results revealed that, among dog guardians with low levels of human social support, those who engaged in high levels of anthropomorphism were more depressed, visited the doctor more often, and took more medications. Furthermore, among dog guardians with high levels of human social support, those who engaged in high levels of anthropomorphism were more stressed and depressed. These findings highlight the complexity of the relationship between anthropomorphic behavior, human social support, and dog guardians’ health. (shrink)
One of the fundamental components of the concept of economic rationality is that preference orderings are “complete,” i.e., that all alternative actions an economic agent can take are comparable. The idea that all actions can be ranked may be called the single utility assumption. The attractiveness of this assumption is considerable. It would be hard to fathom what choice among alternatives means if the available alternatives cannot be ranked by the chooser in some way. In addition, the efficiency criterion makes (...) sense only if one can infer that an individual's choice reflects the best, in expected welfare terms, among all choices that individual could have made. The possibility that a rearrangement of resources could make someone “better off” without making others “worse off” can be understood only if the post-rearrangement world is comparable with the pre-rearrange-ment world. (shrink)
Argues that some important problems in the theory of legal interpretation can be resolved with three techniques that John Finnis used in Natural Law and Natural Rights to address a methodological problem in jurisprudence: (1) The analogy principle: The application of a word such as “friendship” or “law” is not based on a set of features shared by each instance, but is based on similarities of a variety of kinds, seen by the people who use the words as justifying the (...) extension of the word. (2) The paradigm (or central case) principle: You cannot understand a word like “friendship” or “law” without seeing what counts as a good instance of friendship or law. (3) The context principle: What counts as a good instance depends on the context in which the word is to be used, and on the concerns and purposes which justify the use of the word. (shrink)