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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Philosophical Legal Ethics: An Affectionate History, David Luban, W. Bradley Wendel Jul 2017

Philosophical Legal Ethics: An Affectionate History, David Luban, W. Bradley Wendel

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The modern subject of theoretical legal ethics began in the 1970s. This brief history distinguishes two waves of theoretical writing on legal ethics. The “First Wave” connects the subject to moral philosophy and focuses on conflicts between ordinary morality and lawyers’ role morality, while the “Second Wave” focuses instead on the role legal representation plays in maintaining and fostering a pluralist democracy. We trace the emergence of the First Wave to the larger social movements of the 1960s and 1970s; in the conclusion, we speculate about possible directions for a Third Wave of theoretical legal ethics, based in behavioral ethics ...


The Unity Of Interpretation, Lawrence B. Solum Jan 2010

The Unity Of Interpretation, Lawrence B. Solum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What is interpretation? One can imagine a range of answers to this question. One answer might begin with the observation that the English word “interpretation” is used to refer to a variety of human activities. Translators at the United Nations interpret remarks made in French when they offer an English translation. Literary critics interpret novels when they investigate the deep and sometimes unconscious motivations of the author. Conductors interpret a score when they make decisions about meter, tempo, and dynamic range. Actors interpret a screenplay when they improvise new lines based on their understanding of the characters. Judges interpret statutes ...


Universalism, Liberal Theory, And The Problem Of Gay Marriage, Robin West Jan 1998

Universalism, Liberal Theory, And The Problem Of Gay Marriage, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Liberalism, both contemporary and classical, rests at heart on a theory of human nature, and at the center of that theory lies one core commitment: all human beings, qua human beings, are essentially rational. There are two equally important implications. The first we might call the "universalist" assumption: all human beings, not just some, are rational -- not just white people, men, freemen, property owners, aristocrats, or citizens, but all of us. In this central, defining respect, then, we are all the same: we all share in this universal, natural, human trait. The second implication, we might call the "individualist" assumption ...


Constitutional Scepticism, Robin West Jan 1992

Constitutional Scepticism, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Interpretive constitutional debate over the last few decades has centered on two apparently linked questions: whether the Constitution can be given a determinate meaning, and whether the institution of judicial review can be justified within the basic assumptions of liberalism. Two groups of scholars have generated answers to these questions. The "constitutional faithful" argue that meaning can indeed be determinately affixed to constitutional clauses, by reference to the plain meaning of the document, the original intent of the drafters, evolving political and moral norms of the community, or the best political or moral philosophical theory available and that, because of ...