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Article

Access_open When regulators mean business

Regulation in the shadow of environmental Armageddon

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2011
Keywords ecological catastrophe, regulatory legitimacy, regulatory effectiveness, geo-engineering
Authors Han Somsen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article considers the question how knowledge of an impending ecological catastrophe is likely to impact on regulatory legitimacy and regulatory effectiveness. If the ultimate aim to safeguard meaningful human life on earth is in acute danger, this is likely to translate into zero tolerance towards non-compliance with environmental rules designed to avert catastrophe. This, in turn, will persuade regulators to employ normative technologies that do not engage with the moral reason of regulatees at all, but leave no option but to comply. In addition, regulators may turn to panoptic surveillance techniques that allow no breaches of rules to remain undetected. Finally, it is argued that if and to the extent that impending ecological catastrophe marks the end of maintaining the status quo as a plausible policy goal, regulators will be more sympathetic towards potentially apocalyptic technologies that carry greater promise for future gain than otherwise would be the case.


Han Somsen
Han Somsen is Professor of Regulation & Technology at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society, and Dean of Research of Tilburg Law School.
Article

Access_open De halve waarheid van het populisme

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2011
Keywords populism, self-inclusion, vitalism, democracy, Lefort
Authors Bert Roermund
AbstractAuthor's information

    Does populism add value to the political debate by showing that the ideals of Enlightenment are too abstract and rationalist to understand politics in democratic terms? The paper argues two theses, critically engaging Lefort’s work: (i) instead of offering valuable criticism, populism feeds on the very principle that Enlightenment has introduced: a polity rests on self-inclusion with reference to a quasi-transcendent realm; (ii) populism’s appeal to simple emotions feeds on the vitalist (rather than merely institutionalist) pulse in any polity. Both dimensions of politics are inevitable as well as elusive. In particular with regard to the vitalist pulse we have no response to the half-truths of populism, as both national and constitutional patriotism seem on the wrong track.


Bert Roermund
Bert van Roermund has held the Chair in Legal Philosophy at Tilburg University and is currently Professor of (Political) Philosophy at the same University as well as 2010-2011 Visiting Professor at K.U. Leuven.
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