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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Jurisprudence

Ethics and Political Philosophy

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Full-Text Articles in Law

How Practices Make Principles, And How Principles Make Rules, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2022

How Practices Make Principles, And How Principles Make Rules, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The most fundamental question in general jurisprudence concerns what makes it the case that the law has the content that it does. This article offers a novel answer. According to the theory it christens “principled positivism,” legal practices ground legal principles, and legal principles determine legal rules. This two-level account of the determination of legal content differs from Hart’s celebrated theory in two essential respects: in relaxing Hart’s requirement that fundamental legal notions depend for their existence on judicial consensus; and in assigning weighted contributory legal norms—“principles”—an essential role in the determination of legal rights, duties ...


Keeping Our Distinctions Straight: A Response To “Originalism: Standard And Procedure”, Mitchell N. Berman Aug 2021

Keeping Our Distinctions Straight: A Response To “Originalism: Standard And Procedure”, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For half a century, moral philosophers have distinguished between a “standard” that makes acts right and a “decision procedure” by which agents can determine whether any given contemplated act is right, which is to say whether it satisfies the standard. In “Originalism: Standard and Procedure,” Stephen Sachs argues that the same distinction applies to the constitutional domain and that clear grasp of the difference strengthens the case for originalism because theorists who emphasize the infirmities of originalism as a decision procedure frequently but mistakenly infer that those flaws also cast doubt on originalism as a standard. This invited response agrees ...


Dworkin Versus Hart Revisited: The Challenge Of Non-Lexical Determination, Mitchell N. Berman Jul 2021

Dworkin Versus Hart Revisited: The Challenge Of Non-Lexical Determination, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A fundamental task for legal philosophy is to explain what makes it the case that the law has the content that it does. Anti-positivists say that moral norms play an ineliminable role in the determination of legal content, while positivists say that they play no role, or only a contingent one. Increasingly, scholars report finding the debate stale. This article hopes to freshen it by, ironically, revisiting what might be thought its opening round: Dworkin’s challenge to Hartian positivism leveled in The Model of Rules I. It argues that the underappreciated significance of Dworkin’s distinction between rules and ...


Of Law And Other Artificial Normative Systems, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2019

Of Law And Other Artificial Normative Systems, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Different theories of law are situated within different pictures of our normative landscape. This essay aims to make more visible and attractive one picture that reflects basic positivist sensibilities yet is oddly marginalized in the current jurisprudential literature. The picture that I have in mind tries to vindicate surface appearances. It maintains that the social world is densely populated by countless normative systems of human construction (“artificial normative systems”) whose core functions are to generate and maintain norms (oughts, obligations, powers, rights, prohibitions, and the like). The norms that these systems output are conceptually independent from each other, and may ...


Rethinking Copyright And Personhood, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2019

Rethinking Copyright And Personhood, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One of the primary theoretical justifications for copyright is the role that creative works play in helping develop an individual’s sense of personhood and self-actualization. Typically ascribed to the writings of Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, personhood-based theories of copyright serve as the foundation for the moral rights prominent in European copyright law and mandated by the leading intellectual property treaty, which give authors inalienable control over aspects of their works after they have been created. The conventional wisdom about the relationship between personhood and copyright suffers from two fatal flaws that have gone largely unappreciated. First ...


For Legal Principles, Mitchell N. Berman Jun 2017

For Legal Principles, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Most legal thinkers believe that legal rules and legal principles are meaningfully distinguished. Many jurists may have no very precise distinction in mind, and those who do might not all agree. But it is widely believed that legal norms come in different logical types, and that one difference is reasonably well captured by a nomenclature that distinguishes “rules” from “principles.” Larry Alexander is the foremost challenger to this bit of legal-theoretic orthodoxy. In several articles, but especially in “Against Legal Principles,” an influential article co-authored with Ken Kress two decades ago, Alexander has argued that legal principles cannot exist.

In ...


Judge Posner’S Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2015

Judge Posner’S Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The world is complex, Richard Posner observes in his most recent book, Reflections on Judging. It follows that, to resolve real-world disputes sensibly, judges must be astute students of the world’s complexity. The problem, he says, is that, thanks to disposition, training, and professional incentives, they aren’t. Worse than that, the legal system generates its own complexity precisely to enable judges “to avoid rather than meet and overcome the challenge of complexity” that the world delivers. Reflections concerns how judges needlessly complexify inherently simple law, and how this complexification can be corrected.

Posner’s diagnoses and prescriptions range ...


Privacy Law: Positive Theory And Normative Practice, Anita L. Allen Jan 2013

Privacy Law: Positive Theory And Normative Practice, Anita L. Allen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall Aug 2011

Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article shows that extant rights-based theories of accident law contain a gaping hole. They inadequately address the following question: What justifies using community standards to assign accident costs in tort law?

In the United States, the jury determines negligence for accidental harm by asking whether the defendant met the objective reasonable person standard. However, what determines the content of the reasonable person standard is enigmatic. Some tort theorists say that the content is filled out by juries using cost benefit analysis while others say that juries apply community norms and conventions. I demonstrate that what is missing from this ...


Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister Apr 2011

Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Legal philosophers have given relatively little attention to international law in comparison to other topics, and philosophers working on international or global justice have not taken international law as a primary focus, either. Allen Buchanan’s recent work is arguably the most important exception to these trends. For over a decade he has devoted significant time and philosophical skill to questions central to international law, and has tied these concerns to related issues of global justice more generally. In what follows I review Buchanan’s new collection of essays, Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force, paying special attention ...


Preemption In The Rehnquist Court: A Preliminary Empirical Assessment, Michael S. Greve, Jonathan Klick Jan 2006

Preemption In The Rehnquist Court: A Preliminary Empirical Assessment, Michael S. Greve, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The federal preemption of state law has emerged as a prominent field of study for legal scholars and political scientists. This rise to prominence of a technical and often dull field of jurisprudence is due to a number of developments-increasingly frequent federal statutory preemptions; the states' unprecedented aggressiveness in regulating business transactions, the expansion of corporate liability under state common law and the increased resort of corporate defendants to federal preemption defenses; and, not least, the Rehnquist Court's discovery of federalism and states' rights.

Unfortunately, the preemption debate has been marred by misperceptions and a lack of reliable data ...


Watching The Watchers: Surveillance, Transparency, And Political Freedom In The War On Terror, Seth F. Kreimer Sep 2004

Watching The Watchers: Surveillance, Transparency, And Political Freedom In The War On Terror, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Too Close To The Rack And The Screw: Constitutional Constraints On Torture In The War On Terror, Seth F. Kreimer Nov 2003

Too Close To The Rack And The Screw: Constitutional Constraints On Torture In The War On Terror, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Pennsylvania Constitution's Protection Of Free Expression, Seth F. Kreimer Oct 2002

The Pennsylvania Constitution's Protection Of Free Expression, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Lines In The Sand: The Importance Of Borders In American Federalism, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 2002

Lines In The Sand: The Importance Of Borders In American Federalism, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Method And Principle In Legal Theory, Stephen R. Perry Jan 2002

Method And Principle In Legal Theory, Stephen R. Perry

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Technologies Of Protest: Insurgent Social Movements And The First Amendment In The Era Of The Internet, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 2001

Technologies Of Protest: Insurgent Social Movements And The First Amendment In The Era Of The Internet, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Why The Successful Assassin Is More Wicked Than The Unseccessful One, Leo Katz Jan 2000

Why The Successful Assassin Is More Wicked Than The Unseccessful One, Leo Katz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Positivism And The Notion Of An Offense, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Jan 2000

Positivism And The Notion Of An Offense, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

While the United States Supreme Court has developed an elaborate constitutional jurisprudence of criminal procedure, it has articulated few constitutional doctrines of the substantive criminal law. The asymmetry between substance and procedure seems natural given the demise of Lochner and the minimalist stance towards due process outside the area of fundamental rights. This Article, however, argues that the "positivistic" approach to defining criminal offenses stands in some tension with other basic principles, both constitutional and moral. In particular, two important constitutional guarantees depend on the notion of an offense: the presumption of innocence and the ban on double jeopardy. Under ...


Invidious Comparisons: Some Cautionary Remarks On The Process Of Constitutional Borrowing, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 1999

Invidious Comparisons: Some Cautionary Remarks On The Process Of Constitutional Borrowing, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Crazy Reasons, Stephen J. Morse Jan 1999

Crazy Reasons, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Preempting Oneself: The Right And The Duty To Forestall One's Own Wrongdoing, Leo Katz Jan 1999

Preempting Oneself: The Right And The Duty To Forestall One's Own Wrongdoing, Leo Katz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The New Etiquette Of Federalism: New York, Printz, And Yeskey, Matthew D. Adler, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 1999

The New Etiquette Of Federalism: New York, Printz, And Yeskey, Matthew D. Adler, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Threats And Preemptive Practices, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Jan 1999

Threats And Preemptive Practices, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


On A New Theory Of Justice, William Ewald Jan 1994

On A New Theory Of Justice, William Ewald

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Government "Largesse" And Constitutional Rights: Some Paths Through And Around The Swamp, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 1989

Government "Largesse" And Constitutional Rights: Some Paths Through And Around The Swamp, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Manners, Metaprinciples, Metapolitics And Kennedy's Form And Substance, William W. Bratton Jan 1985

Manners, Metaprinciples, Metapolitics And Kennedy's Form And Substance, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Justice, Mercy, And Craziness, Stephen J. Morse Jul 1984

Justice, Mercy, And Craziness, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Twilight Of Welfare Criminology, Stephen J. Morse Jan 1977

The Twilight Of Welfare Criminology, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Twilight Of Welfare Criminology: A Final Word, Stephen J. Morse Jan 1976

The Twilight Of Welfare Criminology: A Final Word, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.