The traditional problem of the social contract defies solution. Agents with the motivations traditionally assumed would not in the circumstances traditionally assumed voluntarily arrive at a contract or voluntarily keep it up, as we can now understand, more clearly than our illustrious predecessors, by treating the problem in terms not available to them: the terms of Prisoner's Dilemma and of the theory of public goods.
The correlativity of rights and obligations is one of the few stock topics in the basic repertory of English-speaking philosophy th-t is considered suitable for assignment to philosophers specializing in political philosophy. It is a topic perennially discussed, chiefly for reasons that have little to do with its importance: namely, just because it is a recognized topic and because it appears to be a safely tidy one that lends itself readily to being tidied up further by formal or quasi-formal considerations. (...) For my part, I wish more effort went into discussing less tractable subjects like the individuation of rights and their delimitation vis-à-vis one another.What I have to contribute to the subject of correlativity, returning to the scene of my comments on David Lyons’ paper, “The Correlativity of Rights and Duties,” is mainly a stint of annual or biennial repair-work, designed to restore the obvious — the truth that rights do imply obligations and cannot be understood without accepting this implication. (shrink)
Models of culture and representations of changes in culture as changes between such models can be validated without making unreasonable departures from the validating conditions for basic narratives. Von Wright's logic of norms provides a useful analysis of the concept of rule and hence a basis for constructing models of cultures as systems of rules. As illustrations from historical work on the eighteenth-century origins of the British permanent civil service and on administrative developments in Tudor England show, the logic of (...) norms brings to light the logical issues that are of critical importance to changes in culture. These issues, like the models on which they depend, involve human expectations through involving human conventions; but one must also acknowledge parallel systems of description which can figure in covering-law explanations. (shrink)
Natural law theory founds moral judgments on what, given the nature of human beings and ever-present circumstances, enables people to live together in thriving communities. The cognitive features of moral judgments--the claims of literal truth for these judgments about these matters and the readiness to have the judgments stand or fall with the evidence for those claims come front and centre with this characterization of natural law theory. Both what is good for human beings and what it is right and (...) wrong for them to do are matters of fact implied by what is required for their thriving; and so it is reasonable to hold that natural law theory is a variety of moral realism. So, if Hume is not a moral realist, he is not a natural law theorist. But I shall argue that Hume is not a moral realis; and this is what I shall undertake to do, in the course of establishing that he is a natural law theorist, indeed, a human nature natural law theorist. (shrink)
Authority does, of course, raise practical questions, and sometimes these have been so provocative as to amount to social crises. People in the awakening colonial countries have had to cope with a painful transition between old foreign authorities and new indigenous ones. In the metropolitan centers of colonial authority, especially in France, there has been profound agitation about received political forms, though fortunately this has not yet resulted in the catastrophic disintegration of civil authority which Italy and Germany experienced during (...) the rise of fascism. (shrink)
The book sets out a new logic of rules, developed to demonstrate how such a logic can contribute to the clarification of historical questions about social rules. The authors illustrate applications of this new logic in their extensive treatments of a variety of accounts of social changes, analysing in these examples the content of particular social rules and the course of changes in them.
To cut a convincing figure again in jurisprudence — which is my present field of concern— natural law theory, by which I mean and shall mean throughout, traditional natural law theory, basically the theory of St.Thomas, must be made convincing again in ethics.