06 August 2013

JOURNAL: (2013) 4:1 Jurisprudence

Jurisprudence logoThe latest volume of Jurisprudence has been published by Hart Publishing. 
The volume, available here, includes the following articles:

Nicola Lacey, Institutionalising Responsibility: Implications for Jurisprudence

In this paper, the author suggest that the historical and institutional conditions of existence of the concepts which animate legal argumentation - like the historical and institutional conditions of existence of certain forms of law - are of interest not only in their own right, but also because they raise methodological issues for jurisprudence. These include questions about the relationship between concepts and the social phenomena which they purport to categorise; about the relationship between philosophical and other forms of legal theory; and about how a jurisprudence largely dominated by philosophical methods may be brought into productive dialogue with other forms of theoretical analysis. Only by broadening both its horizons and its methods, the author argues, will jurisprudence be capable of illuminating not only doctrinal analysis within particular jurisdictions at particular times, but also comparative and historical scholarship.

Marco Goldoni, Montesquieu and the French Model of Separation of Powers

Constitutional scholarship has put much emphasis on Montesquieu's principle of separation of powers as developed in the chapter of 'The Spirit of the Laws' devoted to the English constitution (XI, 6). It has also been quite common to mix up this model of separation of powers with elements taken from other sections of Montesquieu's masterpiece. The starting point of this paper is that there is an alternative, second model of separation powers based on the French monarchy of intermediate powers, which is also an instantiation of limited government. From this premise, the paper's aim is to carve out a second version of the principle of separation of powers by focusing on the different role and nature of judicial power in the English and French models. It turns out that the French version of the separation of powers is not based on a strict separation, since it bestows on the higher judicial intermediate bodies both judicial and legislative functions. This also leads to a kind of constitutionalism that is 'in between' ancient and modern, as it is exemplified by Montesquieu's take on the functioning of parliaments. As is typical of his political thought, he sees this intermediate power as representative of traditional and conservative social forces but, at the same time, in virtue of its social status, as an institution which strengthens, by opposing it, the monarch's legislative rationality, and legally contains political action.

Kenneth R Westphal, Natural Law, Social Contract and Moral Objectivity: Rousseau's Natural Law Constructivism

Rousseau's Du contrat social develops an important, unjustly neglected type of theory, which I call 'Natural Law Constructivism' ('NLC'), which identifies and justifies strictly objective basic moral principles, with no appeal to moral realism or its alternatives, nor to elective agreement, nor to prudentialist reasoning. The Euthyphro Question marks a dilemma in moral theory which highlights relations between artifice and arbitrariness. These relations highlight the significance of Hume's founding insight into NLC, and how NLC addresses Hobbes's insight that our most fundamental moral problems concern social coordination. Part 2 systematically re-examines the core of Rousseau's theory of justice to show that it assigns no constitutive role to contractual agreement in identifying or justifying basic normative principles. Part 3 highlights his NLC.

Anna Grear, Law's Entities: Complexity, Plasticity and Justice

This article locates a theoretical reflection on the form of legal subjectivity against twenty-first century complexities and pressures, including the structural complexities visible in biotechnological developments, new hybridities and numerous contemporary theoretical and practical manifestations of heterogeneity, multiplicity and complexity emerging in a range of disciplines, including cybernetics, techno-theory, post-humanism and ecology. The author defends the theoretical and critical utility of understanding the legal subject as an explicit (and explicitly limited) constructus. Criticising the constructed naturalism (and the historical and contemporary exclusions) of the 'human being' of law, the author suggests that the language and concept of the 'legal entity' (rather than that of the 'legal person') draws attention to the patterned 'gap' between law and life (and to related injustices enacted by the form of the materialisation of legal subjectivity) while simultaneously providing the degree of theoretical plasticity now required by the mutable complexities of the twenty-first century and beyond.

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