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Article

Access_open Liberal Democracy and the Judeo-Christian Tradition

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords national identity, historical narratives, universal values, equal citizenship
Authors Tamar de Waal
AbstractAuthor's information

    Increasingly often, it is stated that the universal values underpinning Western liberal democracies are a product of a ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition. This article explores the legitimacy of this claim from the perspective of liberal-democratic theory. It argues that state-endorsed claims about the historical roots of liberal-democratic values are problematic (1) if they are promoted as though they are above democratic scrutiny and (2) if they insinuate that citizens who belong to a particular (majority) culture remain the ‘cultural owners’ of the core values underpinning the state. More pragmatically, the paper suggests that the claim carries the risk of failing to facilitate all citizens becoming or remaining committed to nurturing fundamental rights and a shared society based on norms of democratic equality.


Tamar de Waal
Tamar de Waal is assistant professor of legal philosophy at the Amsterdam Law School of the University of Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Legal and Political Concepts as Contextures

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Concepts, Contextualism, Essentially Contested Concepts, Legal Theory, Freedom
Authors Dora Kostakopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    Socio-political concepts are not singularities. They are, instead, complex and evolving contextures. An awareness of the latter and of what we need to do when we handle concepts opens up space for the resolution of political disagreements and multiplies opportunities for constructive dialogue and understanding. In this article, I argue that the concepts-as-contextures perspective can unravel conceptual connectivity and interweaving, and I substantiate this by examining the ‘contexture’ of liberty. I show that the different, and seemingly contested, definitions of liberty are the product of mixed articulations and the development of associative discursive links within a contexture.


Dora Kostakopoulou
Dora Kostakopoulou is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU and Professor of European Union Law, European Integration and Public Policy at Warwick University.
Article

Access_open The substance of citizenship: is it rights all the way down?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Citizenship, Political Membership, Citizenship Rights
Authors Chiara Raucea
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines how the distribution of social goods within a political community relates to decisions on membership boundaries. The author challenges two renowned accounts of such a relation: firstly, Walzer’s account according to which decisions on membership boundaries necessarily precede decisions on distribution; secondly, Benhabib’s account, according to which membership boundaries can be called into question on the basis of universalist claims. Departing from both accounts, the author concludes that actual changes in the pool of participants in practices of creation and exchange of social goods pressure a political community to redefine its distributive patterns and, accordingly, the boundaries of its formal political membership. This claim will be supported by the analysis of threshold cases decided by the EU Court of Justice, in which EU citizenship is invoked with the atypical purpose of granting rights to a specific group of non-formal members.


Chiara Raucea
Chiara Raucea is lecturer at Tilburg Law School. A longer version of her article is included in her doctoral dissertation Citizenship Inverted: From Rights To Status?, defended in December 2017 at Tilburg University.
Article

Access_open The Demos as a Plural Subject

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords democracy, demos, normativity, Margaret Gilbert, joint commitment
Authors Bas Leijssenaar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Existing conceptualizations of the demos fail to treat issues of composition and performativity consistently. Recent literature suggests that both aspects are required in a satisfactory account of the demos. An analysis of this literature suggests several desiderata that such an account must meet. I approach the definition of demos with a conceptual framework derived from Margaret Gilbert’s plural subject theory of social groups. I propose an account of demos as a plural subject, constituted by joint commitment. This account offers an improved and consistent understanding of normativity, composition, agency, and cohesion of demos.


Bas Leijssenaar
Bas Leijssenaar is PhD-candidate at the Institute of Philosophy, Centre for Social and Political Philosophy of the University of Leuven.
Article

Access_open ‘Should the People Decide?’ Referendums in a Post-Sovereign Age, the Scottish and Catalonian Cases

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sub-state nationalism, referendums, sovereignty, deliberative democracy, Scottish referendum
Authors Stephen Tierney
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article uses the rise of referendum democracy to highlight the tenacity of modern nationalism in Western Europe. The proliferation of direct democracy around the world raises important questions about the health of representative democracy. The paper offers a theoretical re-evaluation of the role of the referendum, using the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence to challenge some of the traditional democratic criticisms of popular democracy. The final part of the paper addresses the specific application of referendums in the context of sub-state nationalism, addressing what might be called `the demos question'. This question was addressed by the Supreme Court in Canada in the Quebec Secession Reference but has also been brought to the fore by the Scottish reference and the unresolved issue of self-determination in Catalonia.


Stephen Tierney
Stephen Tierney is Professor of Constitutional Theory at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law.
Article

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Discourse-Theoretical Approach

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Non-domination, Kant
Authors Rainer Forst
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I suggest a discourse theory of basic legal rights that is superior to rival approaches, such as a will-based or an interest-based theory of rights. Basic rights are reciprocally and generally justifiable and binding claims on others (agents or institutions) that they should do (or refrain from doing) certain things determined by the content of these rights. We call these rights basic because they define the status of persons as full members of a normative order in such a way that they provide protection from severe forms of legal, political and social domination. The very ground of these rights is the status of persons as free and equal normative authorities within the order they are subject to. In other words, these rights are grounded in a fundamental moral right to justification.


Rainer Forst
Rainer Forst is professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main.

    This paper interprets the presumption of innocence as a conceptual antidote for sacrificial tendencies in criminal law. Using Girard’s philosophy of scapegoat mechanisms and sacrifice as hermeneutical framework, the consanguinity of legal and sacrificial order is explored. We argue that some legal concepts found in the ius commune’s criminal system (12th-18th century), like torture, infamy, or punishment for mere suspicion, are affiliated with scapegoat dynamics and operate, to some extent, in the spirit of sacrifice. By indicating how these concepts entail more or less flagrant breaches of our contemporary conception of due process molded by the presumption of innocence, an antithesis emerges between the presumption of innocence and sacrificial inclinations in criminal law. Furthermore, when facing fundamental threats like heresy, the ius commune’s due process could be suspended. What emerges in this state of exception allowing for swift and relentless repression, is elucidated as legal order’s sacrificial infrastructure.


Rafael Van Damme
Rafael Van Damme is PhD-student in philosophy.

    How best to account for moral quality in adjudication? This article proposes a six-pack of judicial virtues as part of a truly virtue-centred approach to adjudication. These virtues are presented as both constitutive and indispensible for realizing moral quality in adjudication. In addition, it will be argued that in order to honour the inherent relational dimension of adjudication a judge should not only possess these judicial virtues to a sufficient degree, he should also have the attitude of a civic friend. The Aristotelian concept of civic friendship will be proposed as an important complement to a virtue-ethical approach to adjudication.


Iris van Domselaar
Iris van Domselaar is Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Amsterdam Centre on the Legal Professions (ACLP), Department of Law, University of Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Private law as an open legal order: understanding contract and tort as interactional law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2014
Keywords contract law, Fuller, informal law, pragmatism, rules versus standards
Authors Prof Sanne Taekema PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article puts forward the claim that private law, and especially contract and tort, is the area of law that most clearly shows how law depends on social interactions. Taking its cue from Lon Fuller, interactional law is presented as a form of law that depends on informal social practices. Using tort and contract cases, it is argued that this implies that law is in open connection to moral norms and values, and that law cannot be understood without taking into account people’s everyday reciprocal expectancies.


Prof Sanne Taekema PhD
Sanne Taekema is Professor of Jurisprudence, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Her current research is oriented to the rule of law in a global context and to methodological and conceptual issues pertaining to interdisciplinary rule of law.
Article

Access_open Liberalism and Societal Integration: In Defence of Reciprocity and Constructive Pluralism

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2014
Keywords societal integration, liberalism, conflict, constructive pluralism, citizenship, national communities
Authors Dora Kostakopoulou PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    Communities can only be dynamic and projective, that is, oriented towards new and better forms of cooperation, if they bring together diverse people in a common, and hopefully more equal, socio-political life and in welfare. The latter requires not only back-stretched connections, that is, the involvement of co-nationals and naturalized persons, but also forward-starched connections, that is, the involvement of citizens in waiting. Societal integration is an unhelpful notion and liberal democratic polities would benefit from reflecting critically on civic integration policies and extending the norm of reciprocity beyond its assigned liberal national limits. Reciprocity can only be a comprehensive norm in democratic societies - and not an eclectic one, that is, either co-national or co-ethnic.


Dora Kostakopoulou PhD
Dora Kostakopoulou is currently Professor of European Union Law, European Integration and Public Policy at Warwick University. Her research interests include European public law, free movement of persons and European Union citizenship, the area of freedom, security and justice, migration law and politics, citizenship, multiculturalism and integration, democracy and legitimacy in the EU, law and global governance, political theory and constructivism, and, fairly recently, equality law.
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