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January 28, 2009

A Generous Review of "Naturalizing Jurisprudence" in Mind by...

...Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco, a legal philosopher at the University of Birmingham.  The review is here (I think this should be accessible even if you are not viewing it from a computer at a university that does not subscribe).  Here is the first paragraph of the review:

More than ten years ago, Leiter advanced the idea that Quinean naturalism could shed light on important and pressing issues in jurisprudence. Leiter’s research aims to answer three core questions within the framework of naturalism:  what the American Legal Realists were trying to convey, what is the most appropriate methodology to apply to future inquiries in legal philosophy, and whether legal and moral facts should have a place in our best explanatory account of law. Naturalised jurisprudence brought fresh, fruitful, and powerful ways of thinking in legal philosophy. It obliged us to rethink the self-image of legal philosophy and its location in the wider spectrum of epistemology, philosophy of language and mind, metaethics, and morality. The collection of essays is, then, the reflection of a thoughtful, insightful, and influential body of work. It comprises nine previously published essays and two unpublished postscripts to the essays. It is a superb contribution because of its rigorous scholarship and honest analysis.

And the last:"Leiter’s collection is a sophisticated and creative view on naturalism in legal philosophy marking a tour de force in jurisprudential thinking. It raises fundamental challenges to non-naturalist jurisprudence that, in my view, cannot be ignored if legal philosophers are to ensure disciplinary progress."

And now you can rush out and buy a copy (in paperback I should add) here!

Posted by Brian Leiter on January 28, 2009 in My Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 27, 2009

New Issue of "Episteme" Devoted to Philosophical Issues in Evidence Law

Here.  I haven't seen a hard copy yet, but it's a distinguished group of contributors, including many of the major figures working at the intersection of evidence law and philosophy, such as Ronald J. Allen, Larry Laudan, Dale Nance, and Alex Stein, as well as promising younger scholars like Amalia Amaya, one of Laudan's colleagues at UNAM.  Certianly "must reading" for those interested in the area.  And the articles are avialable for free on-line currenlty!

Posted by Brian Leiter on January 27, 2009 in Philosophy of Evidence and Proof | Permalink | Comments (1)

January 4, 2009

Perry on Raz, Authority, and Anarchism

I am grateful to those who turned out at 9 am on a Sunday morning (!!!) to an "Author Meets Critics" session at the Eastern APA on my book Naturalizing Jurisprudence (OUP, 2007) and especially to Thom Brooks (Newcastle), the organizer, and Stephen Perry (Penn), the commentator.  (Sadly, the other commentator, Ken Himma [Seattle Pacific] was taken ill, but you can get a sense of some of his objections to my work from the papers he has posted on SSRN, especially #4 and #13, which overlap in some measure.  Professor Himma is organizing a symposium issue of Law and Philosophy on my book, and I hope he will develop some of his critiques there.)

Stephen Perry's commentary raised a number of quite interesting issues about the right way to understand Raz's account of the authority of law and its compatibility with the kind of "descriptive" jurisprudence to which Raz and Hart (and me, in a different way) are committed.  When Professor Perry's paper is publicly available, I will try to address some of those issues, but for now I wanted to at least record one point on which I clearly misconstrued Perry in Chapter 6 of my book ("Beyond the Hart/Dworkin Debate:  The Methodology Problem in Jurisprudence").   In an earlier paper, Perry had written:  "If [the service conception of authority] is right, then the anarchist thesis that the state could never have the moral authority it claims is wrong."  I critiqued this as follows (p. 172 of my book):

Raz's account of authority is perfectly compatible with 'the anarchist thesis that the state [more precisely, the laws of the state] could never have the moral authority it claims,' because Raz's thesis is only that all laws (sincerely) claim moral authority, not that they actually have it.  The anarchist thesis, in Razian terms, is simply the claim that law always fails to satisfy the Normal Justification Thesis.  Nothing in Raz's theory of authority or of law precludes it.

What Perry meant, however, is that the anarchist thesis that authority is impossible is wrong if Raz's service conception of authority is plausible, and that's right:  the service conception of authority explains how someone can have a justified claim of authority over another (rational, autonomous etc.) person, which the (Wolffian) anarchist denies is possible.  It is true that the service conception of authority is compatible with the anarchist claim that no state ever has authority, but that was not, in fact, the anarchist thesis at issue for Perry.

Posted by Brian Leiter on January 4, 2009 in General Jurisprudence | Permalink | Comments (1)