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Article

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Authors Ronald Van Crombrugge
Abstract

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge
Article

Access_open E pluribus unum? The Manifold Meanings of Sovereignty

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords political sovereignty, power, legislative sovereignty, constitutive power, external sovereignty
Authors Raf Geenens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates and classifies the different meanings of the term sovereignty. What exactly do we try to convey when using the words “sovereign” or “sovereignty”? I will argue that, when saying that X is sovereign, we can mean five different things: it can mean that X holds the capacity to force everyone into obedience, that X makes the laws, that the legal and political order is created by X, that X holds the competence to alter the basic norms of our legal and political order, or that X is independently active on the international stage. These different usages of the term are of course related, but they are distinct and cannot be fully reduced to one another.


Raf Geenens
Raf Geenens is an assistant professor of Ethics and Legal Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, 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 What Makes Age Discrimination Special? A Philosophical Look at the ECJ Case Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2014
Keywords age discrimination, intergenerational justice, complete-life view, statistical discrimination, anti-discrimination law
Authors Axel Gosseries
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper provides an account of what makes age discrimination special, going through a set of possible justifications. In the end, it turns out that a full understanding of the specialness of age-based differential treatment requires that we consider together the ‘reliable proxy,’ the ‘complete-life neutrality,’ the ‘sequence efficiency’ and the ‘affirmative egalitarian’ accounts. Depending on the specific age criteria, all four accounts may apply or only some of them. This is the first key message of this paper. The second message of the paper has to do with the age group/birth cohort distinction. All measures that have a differential impact on different cohorts also tend to have a differential impact on various age groups during the transition. The paper points at the practical implications of anti-age-discrimination law for differential treatment between birth cohorts. The whole argument is confronted all along with ECJ cases.


Axel Gosseries
Axel Gosseries is a permanent research fellow at the Belgian FRS-FNRS and a Professor at the University of Louvain (UCL, Belgium) where he is based at the Hoover Chair in Economic and Social Ethics.
Discussion

Access_open Who is ‘we’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, we, world, self-government, democratic impulse
Authors Evert van der Zweerde
AbstractAuthor's information

    Which human material forms the real basis of a democratic polity, i.e. of the preconditions of a ‘we’ that inhabits a ‘world’? How is a political ‘we’ related to the ‘we’ that is created by systemic processes of subjectivization? These questions presents themselves with new relevance in a ‘globalized’ world, in which democratic spurts and waves spread from other parts of the world to the West, and in which the liberal-democratic rule of law state appears to be undermining its own moral preconditions. The real task ahead is to find out what ‘we’ denotes politically.


Evert van der Zweerde
Evert van der Zweerde is Professor of Political Philosophy at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Discussion

Access_open ‘Nothing Spells Freedom Like a Hooters Meal’

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords Enlightenment universalism, self-governance, freedom, moral point of view, political participation
Authors Ronald Tinnevelt
AbstractAuthor's information

    Winter’s criticism of the conventional account of freedom and democracy is best understood against the background of the history of Enlightenment critique. Winter claims that our current misunderstanding of freedom and self-governance is the result of the strict dichotomy between subject and object. This paper critically reconstructs Winter’s notion of freedom and self-governance which does not adequately address (a) the details of his anti-collectivist claim, and (b) the necessary conditions for the possibility of a moral point of view. This makes it difficult to determine how Winter can distinguish between freedom and lack of freedom, and to assess the limited or radical nature of his critique of Enlightenment universalism.


Ronald Tinnevelt
Ronald Tinnevelt is Associate Professor Philosophy of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open ‘Down Freedom’s Main Line’

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, radical freedom, free market economy, consumerism, collective action
Authors Steven L. Winter
AbstractAuthor's information

    Two waves of democratization define the post-Cold War era of globalization. The first one saw democracies emerge in post-communist countries and post-Apartheid South Africa. The current wave began with the uprisings in the Middle East. The first focused on the formal institutions of the market and the liberal state, the second is participatory and rooted in collective action. The individualistic conception of freedom and democracy that underlies the first wave is false and fetishistic. The second wave shows democracy’s moral appeal is the commitment to equal participation in determining the terms and conditions of social life. Freedom, thus, requires collective action under conditions of equality, mutual recognition, and respect.


Steven L. Winter
Steven L. Winter is Walter S. Gibbs Professor of Constitutional Law at Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan.
Article

Access_open Constitutionalism and the Incompleteness of Democracy: An Iterative Relationship

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2010
Keywords constitutionalism, globalization, democracy, modernity, postnational
Authors Neil Walker
AbstractAuthor's information

    The complexity of the relationship between democracy and modern constitutionalism is revealed by treating democracy as an incomplete ideal. This refers both to the empirical incompleteness of democracy as unable to supply its own terms of application – the internal dimension – and to the normative incompleteness of democracy as guide to good government – the external dimension. Constitutionalism is a necessary response to democratic incompleteness – seeking to realize (the internal dimension) and to supplement and qualify democracy (the external dimension). How democratic incompleteness manifests itself, and how constitutionalism responds to incompleteness evolves and alters, revealing the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy as iterative. The paper concentrates on the iteration emerging from the current globalizing wave. The fact that states are no longer the exclusive sites of democratic authority compounds democratic incompleteness and complicates how constitutionalism responds. Nevertheless, the key role of constitutionalism in addressing the double incompleteness of democracy persists under globalization. This continuity reflects how the deep moral order of political modernity, in particular the emphasis on individualism, equality, collective agency and progress, remains constant while its institutional architecture, including the forms of its commitment to democracy, evolves. Constitutionalism, itself both a basic orientation and a set of design principles for that architecture, remains a necessary support for and supplement to democracy. Yet post-national constitutionalism, even more than its state-centred predecessor, remains contingent upon non-democratic considerations, so reinforcing constitutionalism’s normative and sociological vulnerability. This conclusion challenges two opposing understandings of the constitutionalism of the global age – that which indicts global constitutionalism because of its weakened democratic credentials and that which assumes that these weakened democratic credentials pose no problem for post-national constitutionalism, which may instead thrive through a heightened emphasis on non-democratic values.


Neil Walker
Neil Walker is Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Article

Access_open Corporate Responsibility Revisited

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2009
Keywords individual responsibility, collective responsibility, legal liability, responsibility and politics
Authors prof. Philip Pettit
Abstract

    This paper responds to four commentaries on “Responsibility Incorporated”, restating, revising, and expanding on existing work. In particular, it looks again at a set of issues related primarily to responsibility at the individual level; it reconsiders responsibility at the corporate level; it examines the connection of this discussion to issues of responsibility in law and politics.


prof. Philip Pettit
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