September 10, 2013

"The Methodology of Legal Philosophy"

The essentially final (and citable) version of this paper (co-authored with Alex Langlinais) is now on-line.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 10, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

September 09, 2013

Why Legal Positivism (Again)?

I gave a very short talk on this topic at the AALS a few years ago, but this new draft paper is a much expanded and more systematic discussion, given as a keynote address in August for the annual meeting of the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy in Sydney.  I hope it will interest some readers, and I would especially encourage those outside general jurisprudence but with some interest in the philosophy of law to take a look, since I hope it clears up some common confusions about positivism and about Dworkin's theory of law.  It would be particularly salutary for constitutional theorists to realize that no positivist theory of law denies the relevance of moral considerations to the adjudication of hard cases!

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 9, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

August 09, 2013

Light blogging the rest of August

Back in March, it was the "South American tour" (Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro), and for the rest of this month, it will be the Australasian tour, including two events in Sydney, and two in New Zealand, North and South Islands, as well as some vacation.  Dan may have some items (and Mike Simkovic might too), and I may even get in one or two, but regular blogging will resume near the end of the month.

Because I will be travelling I would advise readers not to e-mail me bloggable items until the end of August.  Thanks.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 9, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

July 29, 2013

Presumption of innocence should not be a Bayesian prior

Interesting analysis, as always, from philosopher Larry Laudan (Texas & UNAM).

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 29, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

July 15, 2013

"Beyond Blame"... the Boston Review.  A lead essay by law professor Barbara Fried (Stanford), with responses by legal scholars, philosophers, and psychologists, including Adriaan Lanni (Harvard), Christine Korsgaard and T.M. Scanlon (both Harvard), Paul Bloom (Yale), Gideon Rosen (Princeton), and yours truly, among others.

Posted by Brian Leiter on July 15, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

June 30, 2013

Blast from the past: Leiter v. Shapiro on "theoretical disagreements"

Bloggingheads TV, 2008, but at a new URL now.

Posted by Brian Leiter on June 30, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

June 25, 2013

A bare majority of the super-legislature known as the Supreme Court votes to repeal a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act...

...that the actual legislature evaluated and extended in 2006.  They do so based on the finding of five members of the super-legislature that the portion of the Act at issue is no longer necessary, contrary to the view, apparently, of the actual legislature seven years earlier.

And a minority of scholars are still not legal realists!

Posted by Brian Leiter on June 25, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

May 17, 2013

"Why Tolerate Religion?" at the Center for Inquiry in Washington, DC

The video.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 17, 2013 in Faculty News, Jurisprudence, Law in Cyberspace, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

April 26, 2013

"Why Tolerate Religion?" in DC Tomorrow

I look forward to meeting a number of longtime readers there.

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 26, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

April 18, 2013

First Things (magazine) on "Why Tolerate Religion?"

First Things is a conservative Catholic intellectual magazine.  An unsigned editorial in the April 2013 issue opines that,

A recent book by...Brian Leiter outlines what may well become the theoretical consensus used to reinterpret the First Amendment.  "There is no principled reason," he writes in Why Tolerate Religion?, "for legal or constitutional regimes to single out religion for protection."  He buys the ideological [sic] attack on religion, describing religious belief as a uniquely bad combination of moral fervor and mental blindness.  It serves no public good that justifies special protection.  More significant--and this is his main thesis--it is patently unfair to provide it with such.  Why should a Catholic or Jew have a special right while Peter Singer, a committed utilitarian, doesn't?  Evoking the principle of fairness, Leiter argues that everybody's conscience should be accorded the same legal protections.  Thus he proposes to replace religious liberty with a plenary "liberty of conscience."

Without dwelling on some of the mischaracterizations of my argument (the general thrust of it they have right), it's striking to me that they believe this "may well become the theoretical consensus used to reinterpret the First Amendment."  I would welcome that, but I don't expect it to happen in my lifetime.  I do think there's more potential in Canada and the European countries, many of which
already recognize "liberty of conscience," but have yet, in practice, to extend that much beyond religious claims of conscience.  (Of course, I also think there should be no exemptions from laws respsecting the principle of toleration and that promote the general welfare, unless those exemptions do not shift burdens on to others.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 18, 2013 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink