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Reevaluating Legal Theory, Jeffrey Pojanowski Jan 2021

Reevaluating Legal Theory, Jeffrey Pojanowski

Journal Articles

Must a good general theory of law incorporate what is good for persons in general? This question has been at the center of methodological debates in general jurisprudence for decades. Answering “no,” Julie Dickson’s book Evaluation and Legal Theory offered both a clear and concise conspectus of positivist methodology, as well as a response to the longstanding objection that such an approach has to evaluate the data it studies rather than simply describe facts about legal systems. She agreed that legal positivism must evaluate. At the same time, she argued, it is possible to offer an evaluative theory of the …


Picking At Morals: Analytical Jurisprudence In The Age Of Naturalized Ethics, Alina Ng Boyte Jan 2017

Picking At Morals: Analytical Jurisprudence In The Age Of Naturalized Ethics, Alina Ng Boyte

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


Truth And Politics: A Symposium On Peter Simpson's Political Illiberalism: A Defense Of Freedom., Gerard V. Bradley Jan 2017

Truth And Politics: A Symposium On Peter Simpson's Political Illiberalism: A Defense Of Freedom., Gerard V. Bradley

Journal Articles

There is no more important question in thinking about life-and actually living-in political community than whether it is to be permeated by, and purposefully oriented around, the main truths about human flourishing. It is at least paradoxical that, precisely when the state and its law and political life are shaping people's lives more and more, the professed roots of all this influence are growing thinner, more shallow. Lawmakers who profess and in many cases even think they should be "neutral" about values are more involved with how persons' lives go than, perhaps, ever before.

Of course, any community which has …


Enduring Originalism, Jeffrey Pojanowski, Kevin C. Walsh Jan 2016

Enduring Originalism, Jeffrey Pojanowski, Kevin C. Walsh

Journal Articles

If our law requires originalism in constitutional interpretation, then that would be a good reason to be an originalist. This insight animates what many have begun to call the “positive turn” in originalism. Defenses of originalism in this vein are “positive” in that they are based on the status of the Constitution, and constitutional law, as positive law. This approach shifts focus away from abstract conceptual or normative arguments about interpretation and focuses instead on how we actually understand and apply the Constitution as law. On these grounds, originalism rests on a factual claim about the content of our law: …


Subsidiarity's Roots And History: Some Observations, John M. Finnis Jan 2016

Subsidiarity's Roots And History: Some Observations, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Subsidiarity, i.e., “the principle of subsidiarity,” i.e., “the principle of subsidiary function/responsibility,” i.e., the principle that it is unjust for a higher authority (e.g., the state’s government and law) to usurp the self-governing authority that lower authorities (e.g., in families or other civil associations), acting in the service of their own members (groups and persons), rightly have over those members, is a presumptive and defeasible, not an absolute, principle. But it excludes any general policy or aim of assuming the control or managerial direction of lower groups. Its deepest rationale is the intrinsic desirability of self-direction (not least in cooperatively …


Redrawing The Dividing Lines Between Natural Law And Positivism(S), Jeffrey Pojanowski May 2015

Redrawing The Dividing Lines Between Natural Law And Positivism(S), Jeffrey Pojanowski

Journal Articles

Anglo-American jurisprudence, before it insulated itself in conceptual analysis and defined itself in opposition to broader questions, was properly a “sociable science,” to use Professor Postema’s phrase from his symposium article. And, in part due to the exemplars of history, so it may become again. By drawing on Bentham and Hobbes, Professor Dan Priel’s Toward Classical Positivism points forward toward more fruitful methods of jurisprudence while illuminating the recent history and current state of inquiry. His article demonstrates the virtues and promise of a more catholic approach to jurisprudence. It also raises challenging questions about the direction to take this …


Grounding Human Rights In Natural Law, John M. Finnis Jan 2015

Grounding Human Rights In Natural Law, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Of the published reviews of Natural Law and Natural Rights, one of the most, and most enduringly, influential was Ernest Fortin's review-article "The New Rights Theory and the Natural Law" (1982). The present essay takes the occasion of that review's latest republication to respond to its main criticisms of the theory of natural law and natural or human rights that is articulated in Natural Law and Natural Rights. The response deals with a number of fundamental or strategically important issues: the freedom of thought and/or the intellectual autonomy and integrity of work within an intellectual tradition that overlaps with a …


Law As Fact And As Reason For Action: A Response To Robert Alexy On Law's 'Ideal Dimension', John M. Finnis Jan 2014

Law As Fact And As Reason For Action: A Response To Robert Alexy On Law's 'Ideal Dimension', John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Robert Alexy’s 2013 Natural Law Lecture, published in vol. 58 of the American Journal of Jurisprudence, presents law as having two dimensions, ideal and real, and thus a dual nature, to be elucidated by a conceptual analysis distinguishing between the observer’s and the participant’s perspective. It argues on this basis for a “non-positivist” theory of law that is “inclusive” in that it classifies some unjust laws as laws, but not all (and is thus not “super-inclusive”); it rejects the “exclusive non-positivism” that would treat every injustice in a law’s making or content as excluding it from the class of valid …


A Response To Harel, Hope, And Schwartz, John Finnis Jan 2013

A Response To Harel, Hope, And Schwartz, John Finnis

Journal Articles

A seminar held in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in December 2012 discussed critical comments by Alon Harel, Simon Hope, and Daniel Schwartz on themes and theses in Human Rights and Common Good, volume III of Collected Essays of John Finnis (Oxford University Press, 2011). Revised versions of these comments, and of the response I gave at this seminar, are now published in the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies. The Response retains the informal and engaged character of this very good academic occasion. Section I considers Harel’s thesis that judicial review of legislation can be defended because my “in-authenticity” …


Coexisting Normative Orders? Yes, But No, John M. Finnis Jan 2012

Coexisting Normative Orders? Yes, But No, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

There are indeed two normative orders. But not "coexisting" in the sense that French law coexists with English law, and English law with international law, and all of them with canon law. No, the relation between the normative orders is much more intimate than "coexistence" (in the focal sense of that term). The one is a necessary source of the full validity, and strategically important parts, of the other, and is a real but much less straightforward source (by determinatio) of all its other legitimate parts; and is also an ever-present source of legitimate, and in extreme cases delegitimising criticism …


Natural Law Theory: Its Past And Its Present, John M. Finnis Jan 2012

Natural Law Theory: Its Past And Its Present, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

The past in which theory of this kind had its origins is notably similar to the present. For this is theory-practical theory-which articulates a critique of critiques, and the critiques it criticizes, rejects and replaces have much in common whether one looks at them in their fifth century B.C. Hellenic (Sophistic) or their modem (Enlightenment, Nietzschean or postmodern) forms.


Derivation Of Positive From Natural Law Revisited, Santiago Legarre Jan 2012

Derivation Of Positive From Natural Law Revisited, Santiago Legarre

Journal Articles

Aquinas's account of the relationship of natural law to positive law has a general theory: every just human law is derived from the law of nature; and two, subordinate theorems: derivation is always either per modum conclusionis or per modum determinationis. I will call them sub-theorems. According to the first sub-theorem "something may be derived from the natural law . . . as a conclusion from premises." For example, "that one must not kill may be derived as a conclusion from the principle that one must do harm to no one." For one reason or another, the theory of derivation …


Equality And Differences, John M. Finnis Jan 2011

Equality And Differences, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This revised and annotated version of the H.L.A. Hart Memorial lecture in the University of Oxford in June 2011 has some significant differences in coverage from the essay of the same title published in the American Journal of Jurisprudence 56 (2011) 17-44, including a brief discussion of Waldron’s treatment of basic equality and Cohen’s “luck-egalitarianism”. The object of the lecture is to establish the grounds of basic human equality, and to indicate how neglect of non-basic inequalities and of preconditions for sustainable common good tends to ensure that legal measures promoting equality rights and condemning ‘discrimination’ yield serious injustices (violations …


Justice For Hedgehogs, Robert E. Rodes Jan 2011

Justice For Hedgehogs, Robert E. Rodes

Journal Articles

Professor Dworkin begins this complex and ambitious book with a chapter called "Baedeker" after the nineteenth century guidebooks. In it, he gives an overview of his project, which is to show "the unity of value." The "title refers to a line by an ancient Greek poet, Archilochus, that Isaiah Berlin made famous for us. The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Value is one big thing" (1).

He articulates his overarching value in terms of human dignity: "[W]e each have a sovereign ethical responsibility to make something of value of our own lives, as a …


H.L.A. Hart: A Twentieth-Century Oxford Political Philosopher, John M. Finnis Jan 2009

H.L.A. Hart: A Twentieth-Century Oxford Political Philosopher, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This essay offers first a sketch (by a student and colleague) of H.L.A. Hart's life; second an account of the political philosophy which he explicitly articulated in The Concept of Law (1961), and of its relation to the main currents of Oxford political philosophy in the 1950s; and thirdly an exposition and critical assessment of the normative political theory deployed, to widespread acclaim, in his Law, Liberty & Morality (1963).


Does Free Exercise Of Religion Deserve Constitutional Mention?, John M. Finnis Jan 2009

Does Free Exercise Of Religion Deserve Constitutional Mention?, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

The article discusses the inclusion of the free exercise of religion among a society's constitutional guarantees in the U.S. It cites Christopher Eisgruber and Lawrence Sager, authors of the book "Religious Freedom and the Constitution," who hold that religion does not deserve constitutional mention on account of any special value. It disputes this view and states that religion does deserve constitutional mention and that the constitution should protect a citizen's right to practice his or her religion.


A Modern Legal Ethics: Adversary Advocacy In A Democratic Age, Robert E. Rodes Jan 2009

A Modern Legal Ethics: Adversary Advocacy In A Democratic Age, Robert E. Rodes

Journal Articles

Professor Markovits has given us in A Modern Legal Ethics a profound, provocative, and closely argued philosophical treatment of his subject. He begins by asserting "that adversary advocates commonly do, and indeed are often required to do, things in their professional capacities, which, if done by ordinary people in ordinary circumstances, would be straightforwardly immoral" (1). Noting that lawyers commonly take issue with such a claim, he sets out to prove it in a chapter called "The Lawyerly Vices," divided into two sections: "Lawyers Lie," and "Lawyers Cheat." Against these, he sets the "lawyerly virtues" of "professional detachment" and "fidelity."


Reason, Revelation, Universality And Particularity In Ethics, John M. Finnis Jan 2008

Reason, Revelation, Universality And Particularity In Ethics, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This address to a philosophical conference on truth and faith in ethics engages in an extended critique of the account of truth in Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness: an essay in genealogy (Princeton University Press, 2002). For any jurisprudential, moral or political theory that affirms natural law needs to respond first to sceptical denials that reason can discover any truths about what ends all human individuals or groups ought to pursue. But any such theory also needs to make clear how it differs from, even when it coincides in moral judgment with, bodies of moral teaching self-identified as part of …


The Interpretation Game, Robert E. Rodes Jan 2008

The Interpretation Game, Robert E. Rodes

Journal Articles

Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, embarking on a powerful critique of John Stuart Mill, says: "In stating the grounds of one's dissent from wide-spread and influential opinions it is absolutely necessary to take some definite statement of those opinions as a starting point, and it is natural to take the ablest, the most reasonable, and the clearest." This is my justification for reviewing the present work. My disagreement with it is broad and deep, but, unlike many proponents of similar views, Professor Benson writes clearly and without jargon, and he brings to his work the experience of a working lawyer and …


Grounds Of Law And Legal Theory: A Response, John M. Finnis Jan 2007

Grounds Of Law And Legal Theory: A Response, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Linking theses of Plato, Wittgenstein and Weber, section I argues that identification of central cases and settling of focal meanings depend upon the theorist's purpose(s) and, in the case of theory about human affairs - theory adequately attentive to the four irreducible orders in which human persons live and act - upon the purposes for which we intelligibly and intelligently act. Among these purposes, primacy (centrality) is to be accorded (by acknowledgement, not fiat) to purposes which are, as best the theorist can judge, reasonable and fit to be adopted by anyone, the theorist included. Section II defends the reasonableness …


On Hart's Ways: Law As Reason And As Fact, John M. Finnis Jan 2007

On Hart's Ways: Law As Reason And As Fact, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This address at the Hart Centenary Conference in Cambridge in July 2007 reflects on foundational elements in Hart's method in legal philosophy. It argues that his understanding of what it is to adopt an internal point of view was flawed by (a) inattention to the difference between descriptive history (or biography or detection) and descriptive general theory of human affairs, (b) inattention to practical reason as argument from premises, some factual but others normative (evaluative) in their content, and (c) relative inattention to the deliberations of law-makers as distinct from subjects of the law. These flaws contributed to a concept …


Religion And State: Some Main Issues And Sources, John M. Finnis Jan 2006

Religion And State: Some Main Issues And Sources, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Public reason's default position is not atheism or agnosticism about the dependence of everything on a transcendent Creator. On the contrary, there is good reason to judge that there is such a transcendent cause, capable of communicating with intelligent creatures, that one of the world's religions may be essentially true and others substantially truer than atheism, and that there is a human or natural right to immunity from coercion in religious inquiry, belief (or unbelief, precisely as such), and practice so far as is compatible with public order, that is with the rights of others, public peace and public morality. …


Foundations Of Practical Reason Revisited, John M. Finnis Jan 2005

Foundations Of Practical Reason Revisited, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

"One's investigations, reflections and communications are actions. Sometimes they are simply spontaneous, but very often, as with other kinds of action, one needs to opt into them by deliberation, choice and continued effort, all of which make noticeable one's responsiveness to opportunities. This paper revisits some main elements in that responsiveness."


Helping Enact Unjust Laws Without Complicity In Injustice, John M. Finnis Jan 2004

Helping Enact Unjust Laws Without Complicity In Injustice, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

The form of enactments must be distinguished from their legal meaning (their "juridical effect"), that is, from the propositions of law which those enactments, properly interpreted, make legally valid. This distinction makes it possible, and rationally necessary, to conclude that, in certain contexts, a certain statute which declares or textually implies that some abortions are legally permitted (but others prohibited) is not apermissive law within the meaning of the principle, assumed in this article to be true, that permissive abortion laws are intrinsically unjust and may never be voted for. A permissive statute, in that sense, is one which has …


Law And What I Truly Should Decide, John M. Finnis Jan 2003

Law And What I Truly Should Decide, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Suppose we tried to think about law without trying first to describe it or to work out what the concept of it is. Suppose we asked instead whether, and if so why, and when, we-or more precisely each one of us-should favor introducing, having, endorsing, maintaining, complying with and enforcing it. We would be trying to think about law, about something not limited to our own time and town, but as something that people of any time and place of which we are aware would, as we can understand, have the same or similar need for and reasons to comply …


Caesar, Succession, And The Chastisement Of Rulers, Patrick Martin, John M. Finnis Jan 2003

Caesar, Succession, And The Chastisement Of Rulers, Patrick Martin, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Julius Caesar's reign as dictator and praefectus morum for life ended with his assassination in 44 B.C. It was preceded by over four hundred years of consular rule, a system of executive government by two consuls, elected for a one-year term. Consular government began in 509 B.C., ending the hundred-year rule of the Tarquin kings. Three works printed in 1594 recalled for English readers the overthrow of the Tarquins and the establishing of consular government. One was dedicated to the Earl of Essex. Another, by William Shakespeare, was dedicated to Essex's close companion, the Earl of Southampton. The third work …


Virtue And The Constitution Of The United States, John M. Finnis Jan 2001

Virtue And The Constitution Of The United States, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

In this Article, Finnis reflects on the following five questions: (1) Does the Constitution require or presuppose, or thwart or even forbid, a formative project of government inculcating in citizens the civic virtue necessary to promote and sustain a good society?; (2) To what extent can the institutions of civil society support or even supplant government in inculcating civic virtue?; (3) What is the content of the civic virtue that should be inculcated in circumstances of moral disagreement, and how does it relate to traditional moral virtue?; (4) Does it include respect for and appreciation of diversity?; (5) Should a …


Editorial Introduction, Gerard V. Bradley, John M. Finnis Jan 2001

Editorial Introduction, Gerard V. Bradley, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This Article is a forward to nine articles from the 2001 Symposium on Natural Law and Human Fulfillment, held at Notre Dame Law School. The Symposium was held to mark the 35th anniversary of the publication of Germain Grisez's "The First Principle of Practical Reason: A Commentary on the Summa Theologiae."


On The Incoherence Of Legal Positivism, John M. Finnis Jan 2000

On The Incoherence Of Legal Positivism, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Legal positivism is an incoherent intellectual enterprise. It sets itself an explanatory task which it makes itself incapable of carrying through. In the result it offers its students purported and invalid derivations of ought from is.

In this brief Essay I note various features of legal positivism and its history, before trying to identify this incoherence at its heart. I do not mean to renege on my belief that reflections on law and legal theory are best carried forward without reference to unstable and parasitic academic categories, or labels, such as "positivism" (or "liberalism" or "conservatism," etc.). I use the …


Retribution: Punishment's Formative Aim, John M. Finnis Jan 1999

Retribution: Punishment's Formative Aim, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This Article explores the theoretical underinnings of punishment, in light of statements made about punishment in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche.