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Georgetown University Law Center

2008

Enlightenment

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Scottish Common Sense And Nineteenth-Century American Law: A Critical Appraisal, John Mikhail Jan 2008

Scottish Common Sense And Nineteenth-Century American Law: A Critical Appraisal, John Mikhail

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

One overriding concern I have with Susanna Blumenthal's insightful and stimulating article, "The Mind of a Moral Agent: Scottish Common Sense and the Problem of Responsibility in Nineteenth-Century American Law," is whether there is anything sufficiently distinctive about Scottish Common Sense philosophy that justifies the role Blumenthal ascribes to it. One could probably replace "Common Sense philosophy" in Blumenthal's formulation with something as diffuse as "The Enlightenment," or even "Western jurisprudence," without significantly altering its import, because the assumption that rational and moral faculties are innate and universal is common to most writers in these traditions. There are ...