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

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

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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 …


Harsanyi 2.0, Matthew D. Adler Aug 2011

Harsanyi 2.0, Matthew D. Adler

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How should we make interpersonal comparisons of well-being levels and differences? One branch of welfare economics eschews such comparisons, which are seen as impossible or unknowable; normative evaluation is based upon criteria such as Pareto or Kaldor-Hicks efficiency that require no interpersonal comparability. A different branch of welfare economics, for example optimal tax theory, uses “social welfare functions” (SWFs) to compare social states and governmental policies. Interpersonally comparable utility numbers provide the input for SWFs. But this scholarly tradition has never adequately explained the basis for these numbers.

John Harsanyi, in his work on so-called “extended preferences,” advanced a fruitful …


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

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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 to …


The Legitimating Role Of Consent In International Law, Matthew J. Lister Jan 2011

The Legitimating Role Of Consent In International Law, Matthew J. Lister

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According to many traditional accounts, one important difference between international and domestic law is that international law depends on the consent of the relevant parties (states) in a way that domestic law does not. In recent years this traditional account has been attacked both by philosophers such as Allen Buchanan and by lawyers and legal scholars working on international law. It is now safe to say that the view that consent plays an important foundational role in international law is a contested one, perhaps even a minority position, among lawyers and philosophers. In this paper I defend a limited but …


Provocation Manslaughter As Partial Justification And Partial Excuse, Mitchell N. Berman, Ian Farrell Jan 2011

Provocation Manslaughter As Partial Justification And Partial Excuse, Mitchell N. Berman, Ian Farrell

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The partial defense of provocation provides that a person who kills in the heat of passion brought on by legally adequate provocation is guilty of manslaughter rather than murder. It traces back to the twelfth century, and exists today, in some form, in almost every U.S. state and other common law jurisdictions. But long history and wide application have not produced agreement on the rationale for the doctrine. To the contrary, the search for a coherent and satisfying rationale remains among the main occupations of criminal law theorists. The dominant scholarly view holds that provocation is best explained and defended …


Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2011

Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman

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This essay, written as a contribution to a forthcoming volume on the philosophical foundations of the criminal law, challenges the longstanding dominant framework for classifying justifications for criminal punishment. The familiar binary distinction between consequentialism and retributivism is no longer most perspicuous, I argue, because many recognizably retributivist theories of punishment employ a consequentialist justificatory structure. However, because not all do, it might prove most illuminating to carve the retributivist field in two – distinguishing what we might term “consequentialist retributivism” (perhaps better labeled “instrumentalist retributivism”) from “non-consequentialist retributivism” (“non-instrumentalist retributivism”).

Whether or not it is ultimately persuasive, consequentialist retributivism …


Mercy, Crime Control, And Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2011

Mercy, Crime Control, And Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson

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If, in the criminal justice context, "mercy" is defined as forgoing punishment that is deserved, then much of what passes for mercy is not. Giving only minor punishment to a first-time youthful offender, for example, might be seen as an exercise of mercy but in fact may be simply the application of standard blameworthiness principles, under which the offender's lack of maturity may dramatically reduce his blameworthiness for even a serious offense. Desert is a nuanced and rich concept that takes account of a wide variety of factors. The more a writer misperceives desert as wooden and objective, the more …


Punishment As Contract, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Jan 2011

Punishment As Contract, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

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This paper provides a sketch of a contractarian approach to punishment, according to a version of contractarianism one might call “rational contractarianism,” by contrast with the normative contractarianism of John Rawls. Rational contractarianism suggests a model according to which rational agents, with maximal, rather than minimal, knowledge of their life circumstances, would agree to the outlines of a particular social institution or set of social institutions because they view themselves as faring best in such a society governed by such institutions, as compared with a society governed by different institutional schemes available for adoption. Applied to the institution of punishment, …


What Will Our Future Look Like And How Will We Respond?, Michael A. Fitts Jan 2011

What Will Our Future Look Like And How Will We Respond?, Michael A. Fitts

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No abstract provided.


The Myth Of The Fully Informed Rational Actor, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2011

The Myth Of The Fully Informed Rational Actor, Stephanos Bibas

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No abstract provided.


Advocacy Revalued, Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr., Dana A. Remus Jan 2011

Advocacy Revalued, Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr., Dana A. Remus

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A central and ongoing debate among legal ethics scholars addresses the moral positioning of adversarial advocacy. Most participants in this debate focus on the structure of our legal system and the constituent role of the lawyer-advocate. Many are highly critical, arguing that the core structure of adversarial advocacy is the root cause of many instances of lawyer misconduct. In this Article, we argue that these scholars’ focuses are misguided. Through reflection on Aristotle’s treatise, Rhetoric, we defend advocacy in our legal system’s litigation process as ethically positive and as pivotal to fair and effective dispute resolution. We recognize that advocacy …


"Hot News": The Enduring Myth Of Property In News, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2011

"Hot News": The Enduring Myth Of Property In News, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

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No abstract provided.


On The Study Of Judicial Behaviors: Of Law, Politics, Science And Humility, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2011

On The Study Of Judicial Behaviors: Of Law, Politics, Science And Humility, Stephen B. Burbank

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In this paper, which was prepared to help set the stage at an interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Indiana (Bloomington) in March, I first briefly review what I take to be the key events and developments in the history of the study of judicial behavior in legal scholarship, with attention to corresponding developments in political science. I identify obstacles to cooperation in the past – such as indifference, professional self-interest and methodological imperialism -- as well as precedents for cross-fertilization in the future. Second, drawing on extensive reading in the political science and legal literatures concerning judicial behavior, …


The Unsolved Mysteries Of Causation And Responsibility, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan Jan 2011

The Unsolved Mysteries Of Causation And Responsibility, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

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This article is part of a symposium on Michael Moore's Causation and Responsibility. In Causation and Responsibility, Moore adopts a scalar approach to factual causation, with counterfactual dependency serving as an independent desert basis. Moore’s theory of causation does not include proximate causation. The problem with Moore's argument is that the problems with which proximate causation dealt - how and when to limit cause in fact - remain unresolved. In this paper, I focus on two sets of problems. The first set is the “fit” or categorization problems within the criminal law. I focus on three matches: (1) the fit …


Blackmail, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2011

Blackmail, Mitchell N. Berman

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Blackmail - the wrongful conditional threat to do what would be permissible - presents one of the great puzzles of the criminal law, and perhaps all of law, for it forces us to explain how it can be impermissible to threaten what it would be permissible to do. This essay, a contribution to forthcoming collection of papers on the philosophy of the criminal law, seeks to resolve the puzzle by building on, and refining, an account of blackmail that I first proposed over a decade ago, what I termed the "evidentiary theory of blackmail." In doing so, it also critically …


Breaching The Mortgage Contract: The Behavioral Economics Of Strategic Default, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2011

Breaching The Mortgage Contract: The Behavioral Economics Of Strategic Default, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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Underwater homeowners face a quandary: Should they make their monthly payments as promised or walk away and save money? Traditional economic analysis predicts that homeowners will strategically default (voluntarily enter foreclosure) when it is cheaper to do so than to keep paying down the mortgage debt. But this prediction ignores the moral calculus of default, which is arguably much less straightforward. On the one hand, most people have moral qualms about breaching their contracts, even when the financial incentives are clear. On the other hand, the nature of the lender-borrower relationship is changing and mortgage lenders are increasingly perceived as …


Managing Moral Risk: The Case Of Contract, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2011

Managing Moral Risk: The Case Of Contract, Aditi Bagchi

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The concept of moral luck describes how the moral character of our actions seems to depend on factors outside our control. Implications of moral luck have been extensively explored in criminal law and tort law, but there is no literature on moral luck in contract law. I show that contract is an especially illuminating domain for the study of moral luck because it highlights that moral luck is not just a dark cloud over morality and the law to bemoan or ignore. We anticipate moral luck, i.e., we manage our moral risk, when we take into account the possibility that …


"Let 'Em Play" A Study In The Jurisprudence Of Sport, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2011

"Let 'Em Play" A Study In The Jurisprudence Of Sport, Mitchell N. Berman

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No abstract provided.