Michaelmas Term 2004


Week 1
Tue, 12 Oct: no meeting this week


Week 2
Tue, 19 Oct

Collectivities as Moral Rights-Holders: Some Conceptual Foundations
Dwight Newman
Doctoral student, St. John's College, Oxford

In this paper, I face a preliminary challenge to the concept of collective moral rights and lay some of the groundwork for such a theory of collective moral rights. Namely, some theorists have put the challenge that collectivities simply are not the sort of entity that can hold moral rights. Working within an interest theory of rights (but arguing briefly that the conclusions could also be developed under a choice theory of rights), I argue against this challenge, employing in the process Dworkin's account of community and others' recent writing on collective action and collective intention.


Week 3
Tue, 26 Oct

On the Alleged Indivisibility of Human Rights:
When Does One Right Require Another? [download paper]
James Nickel
Professor of Law, Arizona State University

This paper critically examines the claim that human rights are indivisible and interdependent. It does so by creating a framework for understanding supporting relations between politically implemented rights. The paper also attempts to evaluate Henry Shue's arguments for "basic rights."


Week 4
Tue, 2 Nov: no meeting this week


Week 5
Tue, 9 Nov

Welfare Between Equality and Responsibility [download paper]
Amir Fuchs
Doctoral student, Somerville College, Oxford

Advocates of welfare reform programmes emphasize the importance of personal responsibility as a driving force in the justification of harsh policies measures. Egalitarian theories have further enhanced this position by grounding responsibility in choice and by allowing both to mark the limits of equality. I criticize this position and offer an alternative.


Week 6
Tue, 16 Nov

Legal Lawlessness and the Rule of Law
Grégoire Webber
Doctoral student in Balliol College, Oxford

This paper examines whether, and how, the state can exempt its agents from compliance with the criminal law. I argue that the rule of law does not preclude this possibility, but that it must be carefully conscribed in order to remain consistent therewith. Sections 25.1ff of the Canadian Criminal Code are examined.


Week 7
Tue, 23 Nov

Moral Positivism [download paper]
Roger Crisp
Fellow and tutor in philosophy, St. Anne's College, Oxford

From the author: ‘I'm working on a book typescript at the moment, and the first chapter argues for non-realism about morality based on a morality/law analogy and positivism about the law.’


Week 8
Tue, 30 Nov

Integrity, Equality, and Justice [download paper]
Stephen Guest
Professor of Legal Philosophy, University College, London

Dworkin's idea of integrity seems sometimes to be a theory of the second best to justice; apparently conflicting lines of precedent are 'smoothed' by means of personal moral convictions about what justice requires. This is actually fine, but it means that more is claimed for integrity than is really there. Integrity is better explained by a direct application of a conception of equality underlying moral principles of fulfilling reasonable expectations, economy of decision-making, rule of law virtues and democracy.


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