What does it mean to treat people as equals when the legacies of feudalism, religious persecution, authoritarian and oligarchic government have shaped the landscape within which we must construct something better? This question has come to dominate much constitutional practice as well as philosophical inquiry in the past 50 years. The combination of Second Wave Feminism with the continuing struggle for racial equality in the 1970s brought into sharp relief the variety of ways in which people can be treated unequally, (...) while respecting the formalities of constitutional government. Most obviously, the content of laws can mistreat them by wrongfully assuming that they are either threats to others, or that, like children, they need to be protected from harm through paternalistic limitations on their freedom of action. Or, as those concerned with class inequality have long noted, formal equality can create legal requirements, permissions, and prohibitions whose burdens fall predictably, and often solely, on groups who are already marginalised, and most in need of state protection. (Kairys, David 1990) Above all, what these two great political movements made plain, is that a concern for group inequality and, specifically, group injustice must figure in the formulation and adjudication of individual rights, if legal protections for equality are adequately to combat the causes of inequality. Getting to grips with that challenge, it became obvious, required going beyond the familiar analyses of inequality inherited from Liberalism and Marxism, given the many different ways in which people can be equal or unequal.(Hackett and Haslanger 2006, 3 - 15) In the first part of this chapter, I will seek to illustrate these claims, by focusing on efforts to reframe the theory and practice of constitutional equality given demands for sexual and racial equality. I will then show that analytic philosophy has also come to recognise the various non-reducible dimensions of equality in ways that reinforce the claims of critical legal theory, even as philosophers highlight their disconcerting consequences. If equality has multiple irreducible dimensions, conflicts between the legitimate demands of equality are unavoidable features of law and politics, even in the best possible world, and are likely to be particularly painful when set against a background of historical injustice. The chapter concludes with the challenges to democratic constitutionalism, and the scope for constructive responses to those challenges, which the rapprochement between critical and analytic thinking on equality suggests. (shrink)
This chapter offers an overview and analysis of policing, the area of criminal justice associated primarily with law enforcement. The study of policing spans a variety of disciplines, including criminology, law, philosophy, politics, and psychology, among other fields. Although research on policing is broad in scope, it has become an especially notable area of study in contemporary legal and social philosophy given recent police controversies.
While the rule of law is surely a very important good, the familiar discussions found in the literature lead many to conclude that it is either a relatively trivial political ideal, or else a redundant one. What is needed is a new and persuasive defense of the rule of law that properly reflects its great significance for human well being. An important step towards building such an argument is to question a widely-shared but often unnoticed assumption that the rule of (...) law should be understood as a virtue of legal systems. The path is then cleared for a republican argument built on two theses: first, the thought that an ideal society would be one in which no one is the master of anyone else, and second, the thought that our freedom from domination is not natural or pre-institutional. (shrink)
The central challenge of “machine ethics” is to build autonomous machine agents that act morally rightly. But how can we build autonomous machine agents that act morally rightly, given reasonable disputes over what is right and wrong in particular cases? In this chapter, I argue that Immanuel Kant’s political philosophy can provide an important part of the answer.
En «What Makes a Transnational Rule of Law? Understanding the Logos and Values of Human Action in Transnational Law», Verónica Rodríguez-Blanco explora la posibilidad –y oportunidad– de la existencia de un Rule of Law (en adelante, ROL) a nivel transnacional. El objetivo de este trabajo es discutir brevemente algunos puntos relativos a diferentes facetas de la propuesta de Rodríguez-Blanco: la pregunta correcta acerca del ROL y su visión particular acerca de la acción humana (sección 2); el tipo de explicación acerca (...) de las reglas, estándares, reglamentos y principios (sección 3); las definiciones de ROL, coerción, y libertad (sección 4); las partes de la relación relevante y la noción de derecho transnacional (sección 5), y la estructura de las relaciones relevantes en contextos nacionales y transnacionales (sección 6). Intentaré, por una parte, mostrar cómo estos puntos pueden presentarse como relativamente problemáticos y por tanto debilitar la integridad de la propuesta de Rodriguez-Blanco; y, por otra parte, ofrecer algunas alternativas acerca de cómo estos problemas podrían ser resueltos para fortalecerla. A través de esos comentarios intentaré también mostrar cuáles serían, en mi opinión, los puntos importantes a considerar para cualquier discurso o propuesta sólida relacionada con éstos. Finalmente, concluiré con algunos comentarios finales (sección 7). (shrink)
In “What Makes a Transnational Rule of Law? Understanding the Logos and Values of Human Action in Transnational Law”, Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco explores the possibility—and opportunity—of the existence of a Rule of Law (from now on, RoL) on a transnational level. The aim of this paper is to briefly discuss some points related to various facets of Rodriguez-Blanco’s proposal: the correct question about the RoL and her particular view of human action (section 2); the type of explanation about rules, standards, regulations (...) and principles (section 3); the definitions of RoL, coercion, and freedom (section 4); the parties of the relevant relationship and the notion of transnational law (section 5); and the structure of relevant relationships in national and transnational contexts (section 6). I will try, on the one hand, to show how these points could appear quite problematic and thus seem to undermine the integrity of Rodriguez-Blanco’s proposal, and on the other hand, to offer some suggestions as to how these problems could be solved to strengthen her proposal. With these comments, I will also try to indicate what I think are the most important points that should be considered in any sound discourse or proposal on these subjects. I will then conclude with some final remarks (section 7). (shrink)
This article aims to evaluate the contribution of Bentham’s ideas to the jurisprudential debate in view of their relevance vis a vis their contemporary reception. The focus is on Bentham’s revolutionary idea of publicity with its spill-over effects on contemporary debates on the rule of law and accountable and transparent governance. As far as the method is concerned, after having examined Bentham’s ideas on the rule of law and the debate they raised, the focus in the second section of this (...) article is specifically on his conception of publicity. Some critical remarks then show that Bentham’s focus on publicity and transparency has been rightly interpreted in the contemporary debate as an important contribution. However, it is their justification that it is judged to be problematic. In fact, the assessment of the fundamental importance of publicity for the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance leads to a critical engagement with contemporary readings of Bentham’s scholarship, in primis that of Gerald Postema, with a development of the latter’s republican interpretation. The direction of travel that is proposed is towards a more liberal republicanism. The article not only shows how Bentham’s contribution should be revaluated in view of contemporary interpretations, but also proposes directions for further research developments according to which contemporary conceptions of regulation need to take a reflexive turn while aiming at legitimate legality at the same time. (shrink)
This work studies the relation between the observance of the desiderata that constitute the formal conceptions of the rule of law and the promotion of the freedom of the legal subjects. -/- La presente obra evalúa la idea según la cual el rule of law promueve de un modo u otro la libertad en los sujetos jurídicos. Empleando el pensamiento de John Rawls y apoyándose en la obra de Lon L. Fuller se pretende determinar con precisión cómo queda configurada la (...) subjetividad jurídica en un ordenamiento que cumpla con las exigencias del rule of law. Para ello, se realiza un recorrido por la descripción canónica del rule of law, entendido en su concepción formal. Con posterioridad, se ofrece una interpretación de la concepción de la libertad defendida por Rawls, que resulta muy cercana a la expuesta por Fuller. A partir del estudio detallado de ambos elementos, se ofrece un análisis crítico de los diferentes argumentos dirigidos a apoyar la idea de que el rule of law promueve la libertad, para terminar con una crítica de dichos argumentos. En rigor, lo que aporta el rule of law es la garantía del respeto a la racionalidad deliberativa del individuo. Este es un requisito de la libertad, pero carece por sí mismo de un valor moral destacable. Por tanto, resulta obligado restringir el efecto del rule of law al ámbito de la seguridad jurídica, y señalar el carácter ideológico de toda asignación de un valor moral que trascienda dicha seguridad. En las sociedades pluralistas, la especificación autoritativa de los criterios de justicia es esencial para el desarrollo de una cooperación estable. Sin embargo, esto no asegura ninguna protección moralmente relevante de la libertad. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to discuss Kant’s concept of juridical state as the foundation of the contemporary rule of law. Therefore, the article tries to answer two questions: (1) what character can be attributed to Kant’s concept of juridical state taking into account the obligations arising from it; (2) can the analysis of the Kantian juridical state have any impact on the contemporary understanding of the rule of law and if so, what can this impact be. In order (...) to accomplish this task, moral presuppositions of Kant’s juridical state are discussed, according to the commonly accepted view that Kant’s political philosophy is closely linked with his moral and ethical reflection. Then, two interpretations of Kant’s juridical state – the liberal one and the authoritarian one – are analysed. The crucial difference between these interpretations lies in establishing the circumstances in which the duty of obedience to state power should be carried out. Then, Kantian juridical state is compared with two ways of understanding the rule of law – the material one and the formal one – in order to evaluate whether the rule of law should be considered as continuity of or rupture with the Kantian concept. (shrink)
Essay exploring the extent to which certain agreements between the police and informants are an affront (both procedurally and substantively) to basic tenets of the liberal tradition in legal and political philosophy.
It is beyond doubt that the legal system established by the Nazi government in Germany between 1933-1945 represented a gross departure from the rule of law: the Nazis eradicated legal security and certainty; allowed for judicial and state arbitrariness; blocked epistemic access to what the law requires; issued unpredictable legal requirements; and so on. This introduction outlines the distorted nature of the Nazi legal system and looks at the main factors that contributed to this grave divergence.
In 1935, the Nazi government introduced what came to be known as the abrogation of the pro- hibition of analogy. This measure, a feature of the new penal law, required judges to stray from the letter of the written law and to consider instead whether an action was worthy of pun- ishment according to the ‘sound perception of the people’ and the ‘underlying principle’ of existing criminal statutes. In discussions of Nazi law, an almost unanimous conclusion is that a system (...) of criminal law ought not to contain legislation of this sort. This conclusion is often based on how the abro- gation relates to the normative claim that the law ought to be predictable. In particular, it has been argued that since the law ought to be predictable, and since this type of analogy legis- lation implied, caused or contributed to the diminution of the law’s predictability, this type of legislation ought to be prohibited. In this paper, we argue that this argument is not entirely correct. While we believe that the law ought to be predictable and that there is evidence for the claim that the Nazis’ intro- duction of analogical reasoning implied, caused, or contributed to a diminution of predictability, this fact is logically too weak to ground the conclusion that necessarily a penal system ought not to contain legislation of this kind. Despite the undeniable wickedness of the Nazi penal system, this type of analogical reasoning can be made consistent with the pre- dictability of the law. We argue that consistency of this sort depends on whether the use of analogy is supplemented by certain contextual background conditions. The occurrence of these conditions blocks an inference from the fact that the law ought to be predictable to the conclusion that a penal system ought not to allow for this type of analogical reasoning. (shrink)
In 2001, three non-Aboriginal men in their twenties were charged with the sexual assault of a twelve year old Aboriginal girl in rural Saskatchewan. Legal proceedings lasted almost seven years and included two preliminary hearings, two jury trials, two retrials with juries, and appeals to the provincial appeal court and the Supreme Court of Canada. One accused was convicted. The case raises questions about the administration of justice in sexual assault cases in Saskatchewan. Based on observation and analysis of the (...) record, this paper: (1) examines relationships between legal errors dealing with availability of the defence of “belief in consent” and interpretation of the “all reasonable steps” provision, the need for retrials, and apprehended race-gender-age bias and discrimination; and 2) proposes incremental and systemic remedies to address the weaknesses in police, prosecutorial and judicial policy and practice highlighted by this case. (shrink)
This book is a systematic introduction to the outlines of contemporary analytical and normative jurisprudence, intended for use in introductory courses in which philosophy of law plays a role. It is clearly written, concise, and organized in a way that fits with major books of readings in philosophy of law.
This work examines the development and performance of federal independent regulatory bodies in Canada in the period up to 1979, with particular attention to the operation of legislative schemes that include executive review and appeal powers. The author assesses the impact of the exercise of these powers on the administrative law process, and proposes new models for the generation, interpretation, implementation, review, and enforcement of regulatory policy. The study includes a series of representative case studies based on documentation and extensive (...) interviews with individuals drawn from government, agencies, and other parties, including counsel for public interest groups. This enables author, writing from her experience as a participant-observer embedded in the public interest legal sector, to draw on the experiences and perspectives of a broad range of participants in the regulatory process, including but not limited to those dealing with the regulated energy, transportation, communications, and foreign investment sectors. Legal principles identified as emergent in leading judicial decisions in administrative law are used to assess the powers and practices used in executive reviews and appeals. The author finds those powers and practices to be flawed and proposes changes. The proposed models are designed to accord with emerging legal principles and avoid flaws of the types identified in the review and appeal provisions. This work, written under contract with the Administrative Law Project of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, formed one part of a comprehensive study of administrative law at the federal level in Canada. (shrink)