To a non-lawyer, references to law reports can appear confusing and complicated. This brief article attempts to explain how to decode such references and thus get to the reports. Those wishing to pursue the matter further are referred to more detailed explanations. This article deals primarily with English case law and is up to date as of December 1987.
English and Australian judges have, over the past few decades, severely questioned the juridical distinctiveness and utility of the rule in Rylands v Fletcher. The popular assertion in this country has been that the rule is really only a sub-species of the law of private nuisance. By contrast, the Australian judiciary has abandoned the rule altogether, preferring to expand the law of negligence to capture the rule's former territory. This article seeks to defend the rule in Rylands v (...) class='Hi'>Fletcher. In particular it asserts that, by reference to their historical origins, the rule in Rylands v Fletcher and the law of private nuisance can be seen to be quite different creatures. It also argues that there is strong case for the rule's continued vitality, and that it would be a grave mistake to abandon it in favour of a yet more expansive law of negligence. (shrink)
This paper aims to cast doubt upon a certain way of analysing prudential value (or good for ), namely in the manner of a ‘buck-passing’ analysis. It begins by explaining why we should be interested in analyses of good for and the nature of buck-passing analyses generally (§I). It moves on to considering and rejecting two sets of buck-passing analyses. The first are analyses that are likely to be suggested by those attracted to the idea of analysing good for in (...) a buck-passing fashion (§II). The second are the buck-passing analyses of good for proposed by John Skorupski (§III), Henry Sidgwick (§IV), and Stephen Darwall (§V). Along the way the paper shows that Michael Smith’s and Peter Railton’s analyses of other concepts—analyses that could be (and have been) taken to be analyses of good for —are similarly unsuitable as analyses of it. The paper concludes by suggesting that the fact that none of the buck-passing accounts of good for considered here is satisfactory, coupled with an appreciation of the various problems that a buck-passing analysis of good for would have to avoid, suggests that we should be sceptical about the prospects of finding such an analysis and should look for one of a different type. (shrink)
The Family Planning Association Northern Ireland has recently been successful in holding the state accountable for its duty to safeguard women’s reproductive health and welfare, and clarify the circumstances in which abortion is lawful. By demanding that the Minister for Health investigate abortion provision and produce abortion guidance, F.P.A.N.I. hope to improve the quality of abortion services and alleviate the situation of those women who are legally entitled to abortion in Northern Ireland but cannot access it there. This action has (...) challenged a public failure which impacts most negatively on those women who cannot easily escape its effects. Although the case succeeded in shaming the state for such a failure, the judicial review strategy could not challenge the legal ethos which denies women a say over their reproductive lives. This case commentary argues that pro-choice strategic litigation needs to positively and generally assert women’s reproductive rights at the same time as it seeks to accommodate the needs of the most vulnerable. (shrink)
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)
So-called theories of well-being (prudential value, welfare) are under-represented in discussions of well-being. I do four things in this article to redress this. First, I develop a new taxonomy of theories of well-being, one that divides theories in a more subtle and illuminating way. Second, I use this taxonomy to undermine some misconceptions that have made people reluctant to hold objective-list theories. Third, I provide a new objective-list theory and show that it captures a powerful motivation for the main competitor (...) theory of well-being (the desire-fulfilment theory). Fourth, I try to defuse the worry that objective-list theories are problematically arbitrary and show how the theory can and should be developed. (shrink)
Well-being occupies a central role in ethics and political philosophy, including in major theories such as utilitarianism. It also extends far beyond philosophy: recent studies into the science and psychology of well-being have propelled the topic to centre stage, and governments spend millions on promoting it. We are encouraged to adopt modes of thinking and behaviour that support individual well-being or 'wellness'. What is well-being? Which theories of well-being are most plausible? In this rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the topic, (...) Guy Fletcher unpacks and assesses these questions and many more, including: Are pleasure and pain the only things that affect well-being? Is desire-fulfilment the only thing that makes our lives go well? Can something be good for someone who does not desire it? Is well-being fundamentally connected to a distinctive human nature? Is happiness all that makes our lives go well? Is death necessarily bad for us? How is the well-being of a whole life related to well-being at particular times? Also included is a glossary of key terms, and annotated further reading and study and comprehension questions follow each chapter, making _The Philosophy of Well-Being_ essential reading for students in ethics and political philosophy, and also suitable for those in related disciplines such as psychology, politics and sociology. (shrink)
That the problem of the way of life has become a current issue should be linked primarily to two circumstances: the fact that socialist society has attained maturity, and the development of the modern revolution in science and technology. Viewing the category of people's way of life as an objective system of their human daily life activity makes it possible, in the first place, by pursuing the objective logic of the functioning of the entity, to picture the individual and the (...) social group in all the diversity of their life manifestations, i.e., in truly rounded form. Secondly, it makes it possible to significantly enrich theoretical judgments by means of concrete analysis of the actual conditions and forms of people's social conduct. A person's way of life may be defined most succinctly as the system of concrete conditions and forms of his ties to society. (shrink)
The moral error theorist claims that moral discourse is irredeemably in error because it is committed to the existence of properties that do not exist. A common response has been to postulate ‘companions in guilt’—forms of discourse that seem safe from error despite sharing the putatively problematic features of moral discourse. The most developed instance of this pairs moral discourse with epistemic discourse. In this paper, I present a new, prudential, companions-in-guilt argument and argue for its superiority over the epistemic (...) alternative. (shrink)
Following up on a 1989 paper on the subject, this essay revisits the question of ethical expertise in the court room. Informed by recent developments in the use of ethics experts, the authors argue 1) that the adversarial nature of court proceedings challenges the integrity of the ethicist's pedagogical role; 2) that the use of ethics experts as normative authorities remains dubious; 3) that clarification of the State's interest in “protecting the ethical integrity of the medical profession” is urgently required; (...) and 4) that the expertise of the ethicist may be more appropriately used in advising the legislature than in influencing the court. (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)
This chapter is divided into three parts. First I outline what makes something an objective list theory of well-being. I then go on to look at the motivations for holding such a view before turning to objections to these theories of well-being.
Stephen Hawking, among others, has proposed that the topological stability of a property of space-time is a necessary condition for it to be physically significant. What counts as stable, however, depends crucially on the choice of topology. Some physicists have thus suggested that one should find a canonical topology, a single ‘right’ topology for every inquiry. While certain such choices might be initially motivated, some little-discussed examples of Robert Geroch and some propositions of my own show that the main candidates—and (...) each possible choice, to some extent—faces the horns of a no-go result. I suggest that instead of trying to decide what the ‘right’ topology is for all problems, one should let the details of particular types of problems guide the choice of an appropriate topology. (shrink)
Intertheoretic reduction in physics aspires to be both to be explanatory and perfectly general: it endeavors to explain why an older, simpler theory continues to be as successful as it is in terms of a newer, more sophisticated theory, and it aims to relate or otherwise account for as many features of the two theories as possible. Despite often being introduced as straightforward cases of intertheoretic reduction, candidate accounts of the reduction of general relativity to Newtonian gravitation have either been (...) insufficiently general or rigorous, or have not clearly been able to explain the empirical success of Newtonian gravitation. Building on work by Ehlers and others, I propose a different account of the reduction relation that is perfectly general and meets the explanatory demand one would make of it. In doing so, I highlight the role that a topology on the collection of all spacetimes plays in defining the relation, and how the selection of the topology corresponds with broader or narrower classes of observables that one demands be well-approximated in the limit. (shrink)