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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 …


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 …


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 …


A Process Theory Of Natural Law And The Rule Of Law In China, Mark C. Modak-Truran Jan 2008

A Process Theory Of Natural Law And The Rule Of Law In China, Mark C. Modak-Truran

Journal Articles

This Article analyzes China's efforts to implement the rule of law and proposes a constructive, post-modern normative theory of law based on the Process Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and the Radical Empiricism of William James. This "process theory of natural law" provides a novel theory of natural law that eliminates the perceived illegitimacy arising from legal indeterminacy and closes the ontological gap between legal theory and practice. Process natural law also mediates many of the cultural differences between the East and the West through the telos of beauty (unity-in-diversity), which entails maximizing both an Eastern aesthetic sense of order …


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 Normative Foundations Of Trademark Law, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2007

The Normative Foundations Of Trademark Law, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

This paper challenges the conventional wisdom that trademark law traditionally sought to protect consumers and enhance marketplace efficiency. Contrary to widespread contemporary understanding, early trademark cases were decidedly producer-centered. Trademark infringement claims, like all unfair competition claims, were intended to protect producers from illegitimate attempts to divert their trade. Consumer deception was relevant in these cases only to the extent it was the means by which a competitor diverted a producer's trade. Moreover, American courts from the very beginning protected a party against improperly diverted trade in part by recognizing a narrow form ofproperty rights in trademarks. Those rights were …


Tradition And Development In The Catholic Church's Teaching On Marriage: A Response To Cardinal Trujillo, John J. Coughlin Jan 2006

Tradition And Development In The Catholic Church's Teaching On Marriage: A Response To Cardinal Trujillo, John J. Coughlin

Journal Articles

During the twentieth century, the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on the nature of marriage remained fully faithful to ancient tradition and witnessed new developments. In his article, The Nature of Marriage and Its Various Aspects, Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo has afforded a splendid overview of both the timeless and adaptive features of the Church's teaching. In commenting on the article, I have been asked to identify obstacles to the article's reception as well as to suggest possible resolutions. My brief response to His Eminence, Cardinal Trujillo, consists of two parts. First, I suggest that an epistemological issue is …


On The Historical School Of Jurisprudence, Robert E. Rodes Jan 2004

On The Historical School Of Jurisprudence, Robert E. Rodes

Journal Articles

Legal theory has tended to treat the Historical School as a poor relation, but it has important contributions to make. Developed in opposition to the one-size-fits-all form of natural law that eventuated in the Code Napoleon, it attributes law to a Volksgeist, the spirit of a people, as developed in the peculiar historical experience of that people. The original German proponents of the school had trouble explaining the reception of Roman law in Germany, but despite the importation of technical elements from without, a people's laws are in fact part of their culture and of their spiritual heritage as these …


A Cultural Tour Of The Legal Landscape: Reflections On Cardinal George's Law And Culture, Charles E. Rice Jan 2003

A Cultural Tour Of The Legal Landscape: Reflections On Cardinal George's Law And Culture, Charles E. Rice

Journal Articles

When a ruling of the supreme court meets with Congressional disfavor there are several remedies available to Congress. If the decision is not on a constitutional level, a later statutory enactment will suffice to reverse or modify the ruling. If, however, the Court's decision is an interpretation of a constitutional mandate, such as the requirement of the fourteenth amendment that legislative districts be apportioned according to population, then a statute could not reverse the decision because the statute itself would be subject to that constitutional mandate as defined by the Court.

The obvious method of reversing a Supreme Court interpretation …


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."


Natural Law, Marriage, And The Thought Of Karol Wojtyla, John J. Coughlin Jan 2000

Natural Law, Marriage, And The Thought Of Karol Wojtyla, John J. Coughlin

Journal Articles

This Article examines the loss of the natural law perspective from legal theory and the movement towards liberal theory. The Article continues by analyzing two features of the natural law tradition as described in the philosophical writings of Karol Wojtyla. The first feature concerns marriage and family as the fundamental human community. The second considers marriage as a virtuous relationship. The Article concludes with practical suggestions for the legal profession and legal education with regard to counseling clients about marriage.


Covenant And Contract, Steven Nock, Margaret F. Brinig Jan 1999

Covenant And Contract, Steven Nock, Margaret F. Brinig

Journal Articles

In this article we ask, "What distinguishes a covenant from a mere contract, and what role does this distinction play for natural law?" Both of us have thought substantially about covenant over the past several years. The concept of covenant comes to us originally from religious sources, so we have paid explicit attention to what the Bible and organized religion have to say about covenant. We have also drawn from our own disciplines of law, economics, and sociology as they explain or draw from the initial concepts.

Covenant is a concept that takes us beyond contract. Indeed, the idea that …


Natural Law And The Ethics Of Discourse, John M. Finnis Jan 1998

Natural Law And The Ethics Of Discourse, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This essay argues that Plato's critical analysis of the ethics of discourse is superior to Habermas', and more generally that Habermas has no sufficient reason to propose or suppose the philosophical superiority of "modernity." The failure of Hume and Kant and much modern philosophy to understand the concept and content of reasons for action underlies Habermas' attempted distinction between ethics and morality, and Rawls' concept of public reason. A proper study of discourse also yields a metaphysics of the person, and thus reinforces the ethics.


Liberalism And Natural Law Theory, John M. Finnis Jan 1994

Liberalism And Natural Law Theory, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

I shall argue, in the course of this lecture, that the title I gave myself is a bad one, one that sets a bad example. "Liberalism," like "conservatism" and "socialism," is too local, contingent and shifting a term to deserve a place in a general theory of society, politics, government and law. So I had better say at once which proposition or set of propositions I, on this occasion, was gesturing towards with the word "liberalism," out of all the many propositions, often conflicting, which have been called "liberal." What I had in mind was the thesis that government and …


The New Natural Law Theory: A Reply To Jean Porter, Gerard V. Bradley, Robert George Jan 1994

The New Natural Law Theory: A Reply To Jean Porter, Gerard V. Bradley, Robert George

Journal Articles

The theory of practical reasoning and morality proposed by Germain Grisez, and developed by him in frequent collaboration with John Finnis and Joseph Boyle, is the most formidable presentation of natural law theory in this century. Although work by Finnis and others has brought this "new natural law theory" (NNLT) to the attention of secular philosophers, the theory is of particular interest to Catholic moralists. This is because NNLT provides resources for a fresh defense of traditional moral norms, including those forbidding abortion, euthanasia, and other forms of "direct" killing, as well as sexual immoralities such as fornication, sodomy, and …


Response To Hittinger, Gerard V. Bradley Jan 1994

Response To Hittinger, Gerard V. Bradley

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


Concluding Reflections, John M. Finnis Jan 1990

Concluding Reflections, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

A symposium to which one person contributes three extended papers is no unmixed pleasure for readers. This third contribution of mine will interest only those curious to see my response to other symposiasts' comments on my earlier efforts (in the symposium and elsewhere). To enable this curiosity to be satisfied as costlessly as possible, I divide these concluding reflections by authors rather than themes, though with priorities suggested by themes rather than authors.


Natural Law And Legal Reasoning, John M. Finnis Jan 1990

Natural Law And Legal Reasoning, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

Much academic theory about legal reasoning greatly exaggerates the extent to which reason can settle what is greater good or lesser evil, and minimizes the need for authoritative sources which, so far as they are clear and respect the few absolute moral rights and duties, are to be respected as the only rational basis for judicial reasoning and decision, in relation to the countless issues which do not directly involve those absolute rights and duties. A natural law theory in the classical tradition makes no pretense that natural reason can determine the one right answer to those countless questions which …


Some Reasons For A Restoration Of Natural Law Jurisprudence, Charles E. Rice Jan 1989

Some Reasons For A Restoration Of Natural Law Jurisprudence, Charles E. Rice

Journal Articles

The growing influence of utilitarianism and legal positivism in American jurisprudence today and the decline of natural law have produced an ominous shift in the foundation of our legal system. This shift is illustrated by various courts' approaches to momentous legal issues of the Twentieth Century such as abortion and euthanasia. Ultimately, legal positivism is unacceptable as a jurisprudential framework because it provides no inherent limits on the power of the state and no basis for determining what is just. In contrast, the natural law provides a jurisprudential framework that both guides and limits the civil law. It therefore is …


Practical Principles, Moral Truth, And Ultimate Ends, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle Jan 1987

Practical Principles, Moral Truth, And Ultimate Ends, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle

Journal Articles

The natural-law theory on which we have been working during the past twenty-five years has stimulated many critical responses. We have restated the theory in various works, not always calling attention to developments. This paper reformulates some parts of the theory, taking into account the criticisms of which we are aware.


The "Natural Law Tradition", John M. Finnis Jan 1986

The "Natural Law Tradition", John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This "tradition of natural law theory" has three main features: First, critique and rejection of ethical scepticism, dogmatism and conventionalism; Second, clarification of the methodology of descriptive and explanatory social theories (e.g., political science, economics, jurisprudence .... ); Third, critique and rejection of aggregative conceptions of the right and the just (e.g., consequentialism, utilitarianism, wealth-maximization, "proportionalism"...).


Natural Law And The "Is"-"Ought" Question: An Invitation To Professor Veatch, John M. Finnis Jan 1982

Natural Law And The "Is"-"Ought" Question: An Invitation To Professor Veatch, John M. Finnis

Journal Articles

This Article invites Professor Henry Veatch to consider some of Finnis' previous work. Finnis asserts that his work presents "serious questions" for those who interpret Aristotle and Acquinas in the way the Veatch does and invites Veatch to respond.


The Basic Principles Of Natural Law: A Reply To Ralph Mcinerny, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez Jan 1981

The Basic Principles Of Natural Law: A Reply To Ralph Mcinerny, John M. Finnis, Germain Grisez

Journal Articles

In the preceding volume of this journal, Prof. Mclnerny criticized certain theoretical positions of Finnis and Grisez as well as their interpretation of St. Thomas. In the present article Finnis and Grisez reply that Mclnerny's criticisms lack cogency, because he has misunderstood their theories, judged their exegesis by his own different interpretation assumed gratuitously to be correct, and mixed philosophical and historical criticism in a way which helps to clarify neither the problems of ethical theory nor those of Thomistic exegesis.


The Problem Of Unjust Laws, Charles E. Rice Jan 1981

The Problem Of Unjust Laws, Charles E. Rice

Journal Articles

John Finnis has contributed most significantly to our understanding of how "practical reasonableness"' has affected creation and evaluation of human law. The main objective of a theory of natural law is to show how sound laws are to be derived from principles based on reason. It is true, as Finnis points out, that "the affirmation that 'unjust laws are not law' . . is [generally] a subordinate theorem" of natural law theory. Nevertheless, the experience of the past half century requires that we examine seriously, as Finnis has, the moral obligation of the unjust law.


The Implicit Teaching Of Utopian Speculations: Rousseau's Contribution To The Natural Law Tradition, Thomas E. Carbonneau Jan 1979

The Implicit Teaching Of Utopian Speculations: Rousseau's Contribution To The Natural Law Tradition, Thomas E. Carbonneau

Journal Articles

This article examines the evolution of natural law theory and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's contribution to it. The thesis that emerges from that examination asserts that the tension between law in its natural and positive forms is endemic to the human condition. If any common ground is to be found between theories of positivistic and natural law, it lies in the realization that natural law doctrine is not gratuitous and subjective optimism nor idealism pure and simple. The fact that natural law doctrine can serve but a role of general guidance, that it is alien to the concrete, positivistic manifestations of law, …


Natural Law And The Marriage Of Christians, Robert E. Rodes Jan 1975

Natural Law And The Marriage Of Christians, Robert E. Rodes

Journal Articles

Traditional Catholic marriage doctrine is under a good deal of pressure these days, and much of the pressure seems to come from canonists. It is not surprising that this should be the case. The ideal of Christian lovers giving themselves to one another irrevocably, and living out their commitment, with God's help, until death has lost none of its attractiveness. But as the canonists reflect on what they are doing, they become increasingly disturbed by their inability to offer a practical way out to people who have signally failed to implement the ideal in their lives.

Nevertheless, it seems to …


Foreword, Charles E. Rice, Robert E. Rodes Jan 1970

Foreword, Charles E. Rice, Robert E. Rodes

Journal Articles

During the past several years the NATURAL LAW FORUM has achieved a distinctive and honored place among legal and philosophical journals. This has primarily been due to the diligent efforts of the board of editors under the leadership first of Professor Anton-Hermann Chroust and more recently Professor John Noonan as editors and of Professor Andrew T. Smithberger as managing editor. This degree of excellence was continued with the first issue of the FORUM under its new name of THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF JURISPRUDENCE.

With the resignation of Professor Noonan the Board of Editors has appointed us co-editors of THE AMERICAN …