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Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy x

Access_open De blinde vlek in praktijk en discussie rond orgaandonatie

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords organ donation, ethics of organ donation, symbolic nature of the human body, ethics and ritual, symbolic legislation theory
Authors Herman De Dijn
AbstractAuthor's information

    In countries like Belgium and The Netherlands, there seems to be overwhelming public acceptance of transplantation and organ donation. Yet, paradoxically, part of the public refuses post-mortal donation of their own organs or of those of family members. It is customary within the transplantation context to accept the refusal of organ donation by family members “in order to accommodate their feelings”. I argue that this attitude does not take seriously what is really behind the refusal of donation by (at least some) family members. My hypothesis is that even in very secularized societies, this refusal is determined by cultural-symbolic attitudes vis-à-vis the (dead) human body (and some of its parts). The blind spot for this reality, both in the practice of and discussions around organ donation, prevents understanding of what is producing the paradox mentioned.

Herman De Dijn
Herman De Dijn is emeritus hoogleraar wijsbegeerte aan de KU Leuven.

Access_open Personhood and legal status: reflections on the democratic rights of corporations

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Corporations, democracy, legal personality, personhood, inclusion
Authors Ludvig Beckman
AbstractAuthor's information

    Corporations can have rights but whether they should also have democratic rights depends among other things on whether they are the kind of entities to which the democratic ideal applies. This paper distinguishes four different conceptions of “the person” that can have democratic rights. According to one view, the only necessary condition is legal personality, whereas according to the other three views, democratic inclusion is conditioned also by personhood in the natural sense of the term. Though it is uncontroversial that corporations can be legal persons, it is plausible to ascribe personhood in the natural sense to corporations only if personhood is conceptualized exclusively in terms of moral agency. The conclusion of the paper is that corporations can meet the necessary conditions for democratic inclusion but that it is not yet clear in democratic theory exactly what these conditions are.

Ludvig Beckman
Ludvig Beckman is professor of political science at Stockholm University.

Access_open Over de klassieke oorsprong van de rechten van de mens

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2011
Keywords human rights, natural law, perfectionism, Stoa, Cicero
Authors René Brouwer
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article I reconstruct the contribution of some central Hellenistic political thinkers to a theory of human rights. Starting point is the traditional Stoic conception of the law of nature as a power in which only perfect human beings actively participate. In the 2nd century BC the Stoic Panaetius adjusted this traditional high-minded theory by also allowing for a lower level of human excellence. This second-rate human excellence can be achieved just by following ‘proper functions’, which are derived from ordinary human nature and can be laid down in rules. From here, it was only a small, yet decisive step – presumably to be attributed to one of Cicero’s teachers – to discard the highest level of human perfection altogether. This step, I argue, paved the way for an understanding of the rules of natural law in terms of human rights.

René Brouwer
René Brouwer is Lecturer in Legal Theory at the University of Utrecht.

M. Buijsen
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