Michaelmas Term 2003

Michaelmas Term 2003

Week 1
Tue, 14 Oct: no meeting this week


Week 2
Tue, 21 Oct

Interpretivist Theories of Law [link]
Nicos Stavropoulos
University Lecturer in Legal Theory in the University of Oxford

The paper aims to correct some common misunderstandings about interpretivism as a theory about the nature of law and provide some arguments in its defence.


Week 3
Tue, 28 Oct

The Identity of Legal and Political Philosophy
Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford

Many philosophers say that legal philosophy is a distinct kind of philosophy in order to insulate law from the political debates that divide theories of justice and the state. Yet, the position was strained when Kelsen put it forward and it remains so today. The paper offers some new arguments why (a) jurisprudence is not a description of anything, (b) jurisprudence is not a history of anything, and (c) jurisprudence is political philosophy.


Week 4
Tue, 4 Nov

On Positivism's Inclusive/Exclusive Debate
Juan Vega
Academic visitor, Balliol College, and Legal Research Institute, Mexico's National University

The paper tackles the debate between Joseph Raz’s exclusive positivism and Jules Coleman’s objections to it in The Practice of Principle.The paper raises some doubts regarding Coleman’s version of positivism and particularly his interpretation of the practical difference thesis.


Week 5
Tue, 11 Nov

The Fallacies of Objections to Selective Conscientious Objection [download paper]
Amir Fuchs
Doctoral student in Somerville College, Oxford

Legislators and courts worldwide insist on distinguishing between absolute conscientious objection (pacifism) and objection to particular wars. The paper assesses the justifications to this distinction and finds them wanting. Current affairs make the investigation of this issue all the more relevant.


Week 6
Tue, 18 Nov

A Specification to the Coherence Theory of Punishment's Justification [download paper]
Kyron Huigens
Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University, New York


Week 7
Tue, 25 Nov

Then and Now:
The Natural/Positivist Nexus at War - Auden’s “September 1, 1939”
Melanie Williams
Law Department, University of Wales at Aberystwyth

Auden’s poem exhibits a fractured rationality at its heart and the point of fracture laid it open to subsequent popular and political metabolisations. In revisiting this reception, the paper considers whether such colonisation provides a more general lesson – whether such ‘fracture’ holds broad implications for the ‘tensile’ properties of theory. Click here for Auden's poem.


Week 8
Wed, 3 Dec

Interpretation in Law [download paper]
Dennis Patterson
Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University School of Law (Camden)

The draft I plan to discuss with you is at a point where I can benefit from all manner of criticism of the project. As you will see, my view of interpretation is the product of my more fundamental view of law. Thus, it may rightly be said that the success of my account of interpretation depends, at least in part, on the success of my underlying view of law as a practice of argument.The draft is compressed in places where I need to be more capacious in developing my argument. Notwithstanding this compression, I am sure the argument is developed enough for it to be profitably criticized, and I look forward to engaging with you on the topic of interpretation in law.


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