Fitting the people they are meant to serve: Reasonable persons in the american legal system [Book Review]

Law and Philosophy 22 (1):75 - 110 (2003)


What does the law demand when it requirescitizens to conform to standards ofreasonableness? I propose and defend theview that the law should demand thatcitizens conform their behavior to someactual conduct in society. I contrast thisidea against what might be called the``empty vessel'' view of reasonableness,where the standard is understood tofunction like an empty vessel in the law,allowing courts to use various norms andmoral judgments to determine what seemsreasonable in the circumstances. Theempty vessel account is the more commonapproach for understanding reasonableness,but it leaves obscure whether and howassessments about appropriate conductconnect with facts about citizens' actualconduct. I argue for a ``binocular'' viewthat focuses our attention on actualpractices and thereby establishes howthese standards provide a stable guide toconduct and support the rule of law.

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Steven Scalet
University of Baltimore

References found in this work

Moral Conflict and Political Legitimacy.Thomas Nagel - 1987 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 16 (3):215-240.
Pluralism and Reasonable Disagreement.Charles Larmore - 1994 - Social Philosophy and Policy 11 (1):61-79.
A Theory of Strict Liability.Richard A. Epstein - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (4):613-617.

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Citations of this work

Business Ethics.Jeffrey Moriarty - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
CSR Rating Agencies: What is Their Global Impact?Steven Scalet & Thomas F. Kelly - 2010 - Journal of Business Ethics 94 (1):69-88.
Business Ethics.Alexei Marcoux - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Reasonable Women in the Law.Susan Dimock - 2008 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11 (2):153-175.

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