Michaelmas 2012 - Trinity 2013

Trinity Term 2013

The Limits of Law’s Authority
Sam Kukathas
(University of Oxford)
Thursday, 2nd May 5.30pm (preceded by refreshments at 5.15)
Law Faculty SCR, St Cross Building

Legal Philosophy and the Social Sciences
Nicola Lacey on the Hart-Fuller Debate
Kevin Walton
(University of Sydney)
Thursday, 16th May 5.30pm (preceded by refreshments at 5.15)
Law Faculty SCR, St Cross Building

Two Poles of Legitimacy: A Reconciliation
Adam Tucker
(University of York)
Thursday, 30th May 5.30pm (preceded by refreshments at 5.15)
Law Faculty SCR, St Cross Building

Judging Positivism
Margaret Martin
(University of Western Ontario)
Thursday, 13th June 5.30pm (preceded by refreshments at 5.15)
Law Faculty SCR, St Cross Building

*News and Special Events*
JDG Special Event
Reason, Morality and Law
Festschrift for John Finnis
A panel discussion featuring:
John Finnis
Jeremy Waldron
Timothy Endicott
Maris Kopcke Tinture
John Keown
Thursday, 20th June 4.30pm
Gulbenkian Theatre, St Cross Building

Symposium Honouring 50 Years of the Morality of Law
by Lon Fuller
presented by: The Law, Justice and Society Cluster of Wolfson College in conjunction with the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies.
Thursday, 23rd May 5.00pm
Law Faculty SCR, St Cross Building

Law and Morality From a New Analytical Perspective
Giovanni Battista Ratti
(University of Genoa)
A interdisciplinary seminar presented by: St Hilda's College
Wednesday, 5th June 5.30pm
Location :Lady Brodie Room, St Hilda’s College

Hilary Term 2013

Dimensions of Interpretation
Dmitirios Kyristsis
(University of Sheffield)

A copy of the paper is available [here].


Toward a Lockean Moral Justification of Legal Protection of Intellectual Property
Kenneth Himma
(Seattle Pacific University)

A copy of the paper is available [here].


Special Event
Law as a Leap of Faith
a panel discussion of the book by
John Gardner
(University of Oxford)

with discussants:
Anthony Hatzistavrou
Kristin Rundle
Kimberley Brownlee


Dicey's Jurisprudence
Mark Walters
(University of Sheffield)

A copy of the paper is available [here].


Hilary Term 2013

'Rights (again)'

John Skorupski
University of St Andrews

A comprehensive theory of rights should (i) define rights (ii) give a substantive theory of what rights there are (iii) explain, or show, the normative significance of rights. I shall discuss (i) and if time allows, (ii) or (iii).

With a response from
Nicos Stavropoulos, University of Oxford
In work ranging from Law’s Empire to Justice For Hedgehogs, Ronald Dworkin argues that the concept LAW differs from ordinary so-called “criterial” concepts like CHAIR or BOOK in that its meaning does not consist in a set of extension-determining criteria. Instead, he argues that LAW is an instance of a special type of concept—an “interpretive concept”—whose meaning consists not in extension determining criteria, but rather depends on the normative facts that best justify the set of practices in which the concept is used. This result in turn plays a crucial role in Dworkin’s more general arguments for legal antipositivism. Dworkin argues for his interpretivism about LAW by observing the seeming conceptual coherence of a distinctive type of legal disagreement, what he calls “theoretical disagreement,” in which, roughly, parties persist in their disagreement even as it

A copy of the handout for this presentation is available [here].


Waiving Rights in Mandatory Arbitration Clauses: A challenge for liberalism

Alicia Dorothy-Mornington
Institut d'études politiques de Paris

This presentation focuses on the case of Jamie Leigh Jones v. Halliburton et al. (USA, 2009). Jones’ employment contract with Halliburton/KBR had a clause stipulating that, in the case of rape she was giving up her right to a tort trial. By signing, she accepted to resort to KBR's private arbitration system. Jones was subsequently raped during a mission in Iraq. Due to the Department of State’s gross negligence, she was barred from having a criminal trial, and her waiver prevented her from initiating a tort trial. 
Waiving rights poses a serious challenge to classical liberalism, as it takes consent as the basis for legitimacy. Liberalism is usually committed to protecting liberty and therefore rejecting paternalism. Liberals do not have a coherent response to waivers. The laissez-faire option entails they must tolerate voluntary slavery in the name of freedom, which contradicts liberalism’s goal to promote freedom. Yet condemning voluntary slavery means being paternalist, thus limiting freedom in the name of freedom. In both cases, consent to waiving rights leads liberalism to a contradiction. The Jones case thus reveals a blind spot for liberalism. In this paper, I want to argue that in order to rescue liberalism from internal contradiction, non-classically liberal arguments are needed. 

A copy of the paper can be viewed [here]


Dworkin’s Interpretivism and the Pragmatics of Legal Disagreements

David Plunkett, Dartmouth College
and Tim Sundell, University of Kentucky

becomes clear that they have divergent views about the criteria for something’s being counted as “a law” in the first place. If the relevant concepts were understood in terms of extension-determining criteria, Dworkin claims, then we would be forced to conclude that parties to such disagreements in fact employed distinct concepts, and thus failed to disagree genuinely with one another. We argue that this line of reasoning relies on a mistaken premise about the nature of disagreement, and we propose an alternative form of analysis of theoretical disagreements. We observe that genuine disagreements can be expressed via a range of linguistic mechanisms, many of which do not require that speakers literally assert and deny one and the same proposition. We focus in particular on what
we call “metalinguistic disputes,” disputes in which speakers do not mean the same things by their words and do not employ the same concepts, but rather negotiate how words are to be used and which among a set of competing concepts is best suited to the circumstances. Metalinguistic disputes reflect disagreements that are “genuine” in any plausible sense of the word, and we argue
that they provide the basis for a plausible alternative to Dworkin’s interpretivist analysis of theoretical disagreements. In particular, by drawing on the existence of metalinguistic disputes, we advance a full-blooded criterialism about the concepts that speakers in metalinguistic disputes express by the term “law”. We claim that this view has quite general theoretical advantages over Dworkin’s interpretivism, including, importantly, that our view, in contrast to Dworkin’s, does not entail either positivism or antipositivism.

A copy of the paper can be viewed [here].


Time and Retribution

Patrick Tomlin
University of Reading

A copy of the paper can be downloaded [here]

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