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This new book advances a fresh philosophical account of the relationship between the legislature and courts, opposing the common conception of law, in which it is legislatures that primarily create the law, and courts that primarily apply it. This conception has eclectic affinities with legal positivism, and although it may have been a helpful intellectual tool in the past, it now increasingly generates more problems than it solves. For this reason, the author argues, legal philosophers are better off abandoning it. At the same time they are asked to dismantle the philosophical and doctrinal infrastructure that has been based on it and which has been hitherto largely unquestioned. In its place the book offers an alternative framework for understanding the role of courts and the legislature; a framework which is distinctly anti-positivist and which builds on Ronald Dworkin's interpretive theory of law. But, contrary to Dworkin, it insists that legal duty is sensitive to the position one occupies in the project of governing; legal interpretation is not the solitary task of one super-judge, but a collaborative task structured by principles of institutional morality such as separation of powers which impose a moral duty on participants to respect each other's contributions. Moreover this collaborative task will often involve citizens taking an active role in their interaction with the law.
This collection of essays takes as its starting point Arthur Ripstein's Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy, a seminal work on Kant's thinking about law, which also treats many of the contemporary issues of legal and political philosophy. The essays offer readings and elucidations of Ripstein's thought, dispute some of his claims and extend some of his themes within broader philosophical contexts, thus developing the significance of Ripstein's ideas for contemporary legal and political philosophy. All of the essays are contributions to normative philosophy in a broadly Kantian spirit. Prominent themes include rights in the body, the relation between morality and law, the nature of coercion and its role in legal obligation, the role of indeterminacy in law, the nature and justification of political society and the theory of the state. This volume will be of interest to a wide audience, including legal scholars, Kant scholars, and philosophers with an interest in Kant or in legal and political philosophy.
In this book Dimitrios Kyritsis advances an original account of constitutional review of primary legislation for its compatibility with human rights. Key to it is the value of separation of powers. When the relationship between courts and the legislature realizes this value, it makes a stronger claim to moral legitimacy. Kyritsis steers a path between the two extremes of the sceptics and the enthusiasts. Against sceptics who claim that constitutional review is an affront to democracy he argues that it is a morally legitimate institutional option for democratic societies because it can provide an effective check on the legislature. Although the latter represents the people and should thus be given the initiative in designing government policy, it carries serious risks, which institutional design must seek to avert. Against enthusiasts he maintains that fundamental rights protection is not the exclusive province of courts but the responsibility of both the judiciary and the legislature. Although courts may sometimes be given the power to scrutinize legislation and even strike it down, if it violates human rights, they must also respect the legislature's important contribution to their joint project. Occasionally, they may even have a duty to defer to morally sub-optimal decisions, as far as rights protection is concerned. This is as it should be. Legitimacy demands less than the ideal. In turn, citizens ought to accept discounts on perfect justice for the sake of achieving a reasonably just and effective political order overall.
We usually pay far less attention to what the law actually tells us than to the possible consequences of our disobeying it. Yet, if we try to take it at face value, we discover that the law expects us to comply not out of fear of the harmful consequences of disobedience, but because it is the law that tells us to do this or that - that, at least, seems to be the law's claim. Whence does this authority over our lives derive, and why should we take the fact that it is the law that tells us to do something as a reason to do it? Legal positivism, by far the most influential theoretical doctrine on what the law is, insists that our being under a legal obligation cannot in any way entail that we should really act accordingly. Positivists claim that if we are really to act as the law requires us to, this is not because of some supposed general moral obligation to obey the law, but rather because we think that we personally have a concrete moral, or other, reason of our own, to act thus. Yet, according to positivists, whether we happen to morally approve of the law's requirements or not is a matter of indifference to the law: law doesn't need morality in order to exist or to become knowable. For positivists the law is the law whether we like it or not. Despite its intuitive plausibility this thesis - of law's moral indifference - does not go unchallenged. This book traces the developments that established legal positivism as an almost insurmountable horizon in legal theory. But it also attempts to show that modern positivism's enduring success is due to the gradual abandonment of its core position on law's moral indifference, which, paradoxically, renders it less and less positivistic.
Some say that private law ought to correct wrongs or to protect rights. Others say that private law ought to maximise social welfare or to minimise social cost. In this book, Emmanuel Voyiakis claims that private law ought to make our responsibilities to others depend on the opportunities we have to affect how things will go for us. Drawing on the work of HLA Hart and TM Scanlon, he argues that private law principles that require us to bear certain practical burdens in our relations with others are justified as long as those principles provide us with certain opportunities to choose what will happen to us, and having those opportunities is something we have reason to value. The book contrasts this 'value-of-choice' account with its wrong- and social cost-based rivals, and applies it to familiar problems of contract and tort law, including whether liability should be negligence-based or stricter; whether insurance should matter in the allocation of the burden of repair; how far private law should make allowance for persons of limited capacities; when a contract term counts as 'unconscionable' or 'unfair'; and when tort law should hold a person vicariously liable for another's mistakes.
In this book Joseph Raz develops his views on some of the central questions in practical philosophy: legal, political, and moral. The book provides an overview of Raz's work on jurisprudence and the nature of law in the context of broader questions in the philosophy of practical reason. The book opens with a discussion of methodological issues, focusing on understanding the nature of jurisprudence. It asks how the nature of law can be explained, and how the success of a legal theory can be established. The book then addresses central questions on the nature of law, its relation to morality, the nature and justification of authority, and the nature of legal reasoning. It explains how legitimate law, while being a branch of applied morality, is also a relatively autonomous system, which has the potential to bridge moral differences among its subjects. Raz offers responses to some critical reactions to his theory of authority, adumbrating, and modifying the theory to meet some of them. The final part of the book brings together for the first time Raz's work on the nature of interpretation in law and the humanities. It includes a new essay explaining interpretive pluralism and the possibility of interpretive innovation. Taken together, the essays in the volume offer a valuable introduction for students coming for the first time to Raz's work in the philosophy of law, and an original contribution to many of the current debates in practical philosophy.
In this groundbreaking book, Scalia and Garner systematically explain all the most important principles of constitutional, statutory, and contractual interpretation in an engaging and informative style with hundreds of illustrations from actual cases. Is a burrito a sandwich? Is a corporation entitled to personal privacy? If you trade a gun for drugs, are you using a gun in a drug transaction? The authors grapple with these and dozens of equally curious questions while explaining the most principled, lucid, and reliable techniques for deriving meaning from authoritative texts. Meanwhile, the book takes up some of the most controversial issues in modern jurisprudence. What, exactly, is "textualism?" Why is "strict construction" a bad thing? What is the true doctrine of "originalism?" And which is more important: the spirit of the law, or the letter? The authors write with a well-argued point of view that is definitive yet nuanced, straightforward yet sophisticated.

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