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Full-Text Articles in Law

Does Hard Incompatibilism Really Abolish ‘Right’ And ‘Wrong’? Some Thoughts In Response To Larry Alexander, John A. Humbach Mr. Mar 2017

Does Hard Incompatibilism Really Abolish ‘Right’ And ‘Wrong’? Some Thoughts In Response To Larry Alexander, John A. Humbach Mr.

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In a challenge to recent writings of Derk Pereboom and Gregg Caruso,3 Larry Alexander makes the following claim: If one accepts the Pereboom-Caruso “hard incompatibilist” view of choice, which regards blame and retributive punishment as morally unjustified because free will is an illusion, then “normativity completely disappears.” In making this claim, Professor Alexander appears to hold that the moral distinction between right and wrong conduct (“normativity”) cannot effectively exist unless those who do wrong “deserve” to receive blame and punishment in response to their misbehavior. This is not, however, necessarily so.


Luck, Justice And Systemic Financial Risk, John Linarelli Jan 2017

Luck, Justice And Systemic Financial Risk, John Linarelli

Scholarly Works

Systemic financial risk is one of the most significant collective action problems facing societies. The Great Recession brought attention to a tragedy of the commons in capital markets, in which market participants, from first-time homebuyers to Wall Street financiers, acted in ways beneficial to themselves individually, but which together caused substantial collective harm. Two kinds of risk are at play in complex chains of transactions in financial markets: ordinary market risk and systemic risk. Two moral questions are relevant in such cases. First, from the standpoint of interactional morality, does a person have a moral duty to avoid risk of …


Blocking Blockage, Ken M. Levy Jan 2016

Blocking Blockage, Ken M. Levy

All Scholarship

The Blockage Argument is designed to improve upon Harry Frankfurt’s famous argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) by removing the counterfactual intervener altogether. If the argument worked, then it would prove in a way that Frankfurt’s argument does not that moral responsibility does not require any alternative possibilities whatsoever, not even the weakest “flicker of freedom” (such as the possibility of avoiding voluntary action).

Some philosophers have rejected the Blockage Argument solely on the basis of their intuition that the inability to do otherwise is incompatible with moral responsibility. I will argue, however, that it is not merely …


Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy Jan 2011

Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy

Journal Articles

How should we judge psychopaths, both morally and in the criminal justice system? This Article will argue that psychopaths are generally not morally responsible for their bad acts simply because they cannot understand, and therefore be guided by, moral reasons.

Scholars and lawyers who endorse the same conclusion automatically tend to infer from this premise that psychopaths should not be held criminally punishable for their criminal acts. These scholars and lawyers are making this assumption (that just criminal punishment requires moral responsibility) on the basis of one of two deeper assumptions: that either criminal punishment directly requires moral responsibility or …


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

Managing Moral Risk: The Case Of Contract, Aditi Bagchi

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


The Metaphysics Of Mind And The Practical Science Of The Law, Sarah Seo, John F. Witt Jan 2008

The Metaphysics Of Mind And The Practical Science Of The Law, Sarah Seo, John F. Witt

Faculty Scholarship

In “Mind of a Moral Agent,” Susanna Blumenthal elegantly limns the rise and partial fall of the common sense theory of moral responsibility in American law. As Blumenthal convincingly describes it, the problem for early American jurists was nothing less than to solve the paradox of determinism and free will. How can the law declare someone morally culpable unless we are free to choose our own ends?

After the Revolution, according to Blumenthal’s account, American doctors and jurists turned to a sunny, Scottish Enlightenment theory of moral responsibility. In place of the tortured moral gymnastics of an older generation of …


Human Nature And Moral Responsibility In Lawyer-Client Relationships, Thomas L. Shaffer Jan 1995

Human Nature And Moral Responsibility In Lawyer-Client Relationships, Thomas L. Shaffer

Journal Articles

My interest here is ethics—whether observation, intuition, the ability to make appeals to human nature, and insight into the workings of the human heart are useful as guides for legal judgments in relationships between lawyers and clients. A modern American lawyer and her client use power as certainly as Solomon used power and, I suppose, are as manifestly subject to indirection in deciding how to use power as the kings of Israel were. In both cases the enterprise is undertaken, as W.H. Auden put it, on "a moral planet tamed by terror."


Nurturing The Impulse For Justice, Lynne N. Henderson Jan 1993

Nurturing The Impulse For Justice, Lynne N. Henderson

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Wanted: An Ethos Of Personal Responsibility—Why Codes Of Ethics And Schools Of Law Don't Make For Ethical Lawyers, Daniel S. Kleinberger Jan 1989

Wanted: An Ethos Of Personal Responsibility—Why Codes Of Ethics And Schools Of Law Don't Make For Ethical Lawyers, Daniel S. Kleinberger

Faculty Scholarship

This article: (1) argues that neither codes of professional ethics nor traditional modes of law school teaching do much to produce ethical lawyers; (2) asserts that ethics codes and the presuppositions of the adversary system work to alienate lawyers from a sense of individual responsibility; (3) critiques the conceptual connection between the adversary system and codes of lawyer ethics; (4) critiques the conventional approach to teaching legal ethics in law schools; (5) invokes the approach to ethical analysis championed by the German sociologist and social theorist Max Weber; and (6) explains how that approach, coupled with traditional tools of legal …


Legal And Moral Duty In Game Theory: Common Law Contract And Chinese Analogies, Robert L. Birmingham Jan 1968

Legal And Moral Duty In Game Theory: Common Law Contract And Chinese Analogies, Robert L. Birmingham

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.