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Article

Access_open Dividing the Beds: A Risk Community under ‘Code Black’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Cosmopolitan solidarity, COVID-19, Health care regulation, Risk society, Argumentative discourse analysis
Authors Tobias Arnoldussen
AbstractAuthor's information

    During the COVID-19 crisis a risk of ‘code black’ emerged in the Netherlands. Doctors mentioned that in case of code black, very senior citizens might not receive intensive care treatment for COVID-19 due to shortages. Sociologist Ulrich Beck argued that palpable risks lead to the creation of new networks of solidarity. In this article this assumption is investigated by analyzing the different storylines prevalent in the public discussion about ‘code black’. Initially, storylines showing sympathy with the plight of the elderly came to the fore. However, storylines brought forward by medical organizations eventually dominated, giving them the opportunity to determine health care policy to a large extent. Their sway over policymaking led to a distribution scheme of vaccines that was favourable for medical personnel, but unfavourable for the elderly. The discursive process on code black taken as a whole displayed a struggle over favourable risk positions, instead of the formation of risk solidarity.


Tobias Arnoldussen
Tobias Arnoldussen is Assistant Professor of Jurisprudence at Tilburg Law School.
Article

Access_open Populism, the Kingdom of Shadows, and the Challenge to Liberal Democracy

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Populism, Liberal democracy, Political representation, Société du spectacle, Theatrocracy
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Populism is a somehow intractable notion, since its reference is much too wide, comprising phenomena that are indeed in conflict between them, and moreover blurred, by being often used in an instrumental, polemical way. Such intractability is then radicalized through the two alternative approaches to populism, one that is more or less neutral, rooting in the political science tradition, and a second one, fully normative, though fed by political realism, founding as it does on a specific political theory and project. In the article an alternative view is proposed, that of populism as the politics that is congruent with the increasing role played by ‘screens’, icons, and images in social relationships and indeed in political representation. In this way populism is approached as the specific way politics is done within the context of a digitalized société du spectacle.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Philosophy of Law, ‘Magna Graecia’ University of Catanzaro, Italy, and Visiting Professor of European Law, University of Tallinn, Estonia.
Article

Access_open Suffering from Vulnerability

On the Relation Between Law, Contingency and Solidarity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Vulnerability, Contingency, Freedom and Anxiety, Solidarity, Legal concept of inclusion
Authors Benno Zabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The COVID-19 crisis has produced or amplified disruptive processes in societies. This article wants to argue for the fact that we understand the meaning of the COVID-19 crisis only if we relate it to the fundamental vulnerability of modern life and the awareness of vulnerability of whole societies. Vulnerability in modernity are expressions of a reality of freedom that is to some extent considered contingent and therefore unsecured. It is true that law is understood today as the protective power of freedom. The thesis of the article, however, boils down to the fact that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a new way of thinking about the protection of freedom. This also means that the principle of solidarity must be assigned a new social role. Individual and societal vulnerability refer thereafter to an interconnectedness, dependency, and a future perspective of freedom margins that, in addition to the moral one, can also indicate a need for legal protection. In this respect, law has not only a function of delimitation, but also one of inclusion.


Benno Zabel
Benno Zabel is Professor of Criminal Law and Philosophy of Law at the University of Bonn.
Article

Access_open The Obligation of Judges to Uphold Rules of Positive Law and Possibly Conflicting Ethical Values in Context

The Case of Criminalization of Homelessness in Hungary

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Judicial independence, Rule of law, Judicial ethics, Hungary, Criminalization of homelessness
Authors Petra Gyöngyi
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the tension between the constitutional obligation of judges to uphold rules of positive law and possibly conflicting standards of conduct arising from professional-ethical values. The theoretical analysis will be illustrated by the case of Hungary, an EU member state experiencing rule of law challenges since 2010 and where the 2018-2019 criminalization of homelessness exemplifies the studied tension. Inspired by the theories of Philip Selznick and Martin Krygier, rule of law will be viewed as a value that requires progressive realization and context-specific implementation. By contextualizing the relevant Hungarian constitutional framework with the content of the judicial code of ethics and judicial practice, it will be shown how the legitimate space for Hungarian judges to distance themselves from legislation possibly in conflict with rule of law values is reduced. Theoretical suggestions for addressing such rule of law regressions will be made.


Petra Gyöngyi
Petra Gyöngyi is postdoctoral fellow aan de University of Oslo.
Article

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.
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 Philosophy and Law in Ancient Rome

Traces of Stoic Syllogisms and Ontology of Language in Proculus’s Jurisprudence

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Stoicism, Roman Law, Theory of Language, Syllogisms, Classical Jurisprudence
Authors Pedro Savaget Nascimento
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper uses Stoic theory of language to gain more insight into Roman lawyer Proculus’s legal opinions on the meaning and understanding of ambiguous testaments, wills and dowries. After summarizing Stoic theory of language, the paper discusses its reception in Roman jurisprudence and situates Proculus in a Stoic legal/philosophical context. The meat of the article lies in the re-examination of Proculus’s legal opinions on ambiguities in light of Stoic theory of language, through: (1) the analysis of a case demonstrating that Proculus’s embeddedness in Stoic doctrine went beyond his technical competence in propositional syllogisms, going into the territory of Stoic physical materialism and, (2) the investigation of four cases that reveal how his approach to problems of ambiguity in unilateral legal acts converges with the Stoic conception of the parallelism between speech and thought.


Pedro Savaget Nascimento
Pedro Savaget Nascimento holds a PhD in Law and Language from the University of Birmingham (UK) and currently works as Research Designer in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).
Article

Access_open Mobile Individualism: The Subjectivity of EU Citizenship

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Individualism, EU Citizenship, Depoliticisation, Mobile Individualism, Citizenship and Form of Life
Authors Aristel Skrbic
AbstractAuthor's information

    The central aim of this article is to analyse the manner in which the legal structure of EU citizenship subjectifies Union citizens. I begin by explicating Alexander Somek’s account of individualism as a concept which captures EU citizenship and propose to update his analysis by coining the notion of mobile individualism. By looking at a range of CJEU’s case law on EU citizenship through the lens of the purely internal rule and the transnational character of EU citizenship, I suggest that movement sits at the core of EU citizenship. In order to adequately capture this unique structure of citizenship, we need a concept of individualism which takes movement rather than depoliticisation as its central object of analysis. I propose that the notion of mobile individualism can best capture the subjectivity of a model EU citizen, a citizen who is a-political due to being mobile.


Aristel Skrbic
Aristel Skrbic is a PhD candidate and teaching and research assistant at the Institute of Philosophy at the KU Leuven.
Article

Access_open ‘God’s Friend, the Whole World’s Enemy’

Reconsidering the role of piracy in the development of universal jurisdiction.

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Cicero, Augustine, Bartolus, piracy, universal jurisdiction
Authors Louis Sicking
AbstractAuthor's information

    Piracy holds a special place within the field of international law because of the universal jurisdiction that applies. This article reconsiders the role of piracy in the development of universal jurisdiction. While usually a connection is established between Cicero’s ‘enemy of all’ and modern conceptions of pirates, it is argued that ‘enemy of the human species’ or ‘enemy of humanity’ is a medieval creation, used by Bartolus, which must be understood in the wake of the Renaissance of the twelfth century and the increased interest for the study of Roman Law. The criminalization of the pirate in the late Middle Ages must be understood not only as a consequence of royal power claiming a monopoly of violence at sea. Both the Italian city-states and the Hanse may have preceded royal power in criminalizing pirates. All the while, political motives in doing so were never absent.


Louis Sicking
Louis Sicking is Aemilius Papinianus Professor of History of Public International Law at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and lecturer in medieval and early modern history at Universiteit Leiden.
Article

Access_open The Enemy of All Humanity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords hostis generis humani, piracy, crimes against humanity, universal jurisdiction, radical evil
Authors David Luban
AbstractAuthor's information

    Trationally, the term “enemy of all humanity” (hostis generis humani) referred to pirates. In contemporary international criminal law, it refers to perpetrators of crimes against humanity and other core. This essay traces the evolution of the concept, and then offers an analysis that ties it more closely to ancient tyrants than to pirates. Some object that the label is dehumanizing, and justifies arbitrary killing of the “enemy of humanity.” The essay admits the danger, but defends the concept if it is restricted to fair trials. Rather than dehumanizing its target, calling the hostis generis humani to account in a court of law is a way of recognizing that radical evil can be committed by humans no different from any of us.


David Luban
David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown 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 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 The Erosion of Sovereignty

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sovereignty, state, Léon Duguit, European Union, Eurozone
Authors Martin Loughlin
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents an account of sovereignty as a concept that signifies in jural terms the nature and quality of political relations within the modern state. It argues, first, that sovereignty is a politico-legal concept that expresses the autonomous nature of the state’s political power and its specific mode of operation in the form of law and, secondly, that many political scientists and lawyers present a skewed account by confusing sovereignty with governmental competence. After clarifying its meaning, the significance of contemporary governmental change is explained as one that, in certain respects, involves an erosion of sovereignty.


Martin Loughlin
Martin Loughlin is Professor of Public Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and EURIAS Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS).
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 National Identity, Constitutional Identity, and Sovereignty in the EU

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords national identity, constitutional identity, EU law, constitutional courts, Court of Justice
Authors Elke Cloots
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article challenges the assumption, widespread in European constitutional discourse, that ‘national identity’ and ‘constitutional identity’ can be used interchangeably. First, this essay demonstrates that the conflation of the two terms lacks grounding in a sound theory of legal interpretation. Second, it submits that the requirements of respect for national and constitutional identity, as articulated in the EU Treaty and in the case law of certain constitutional courts, respectively, rest on different normative foundations: fundamental principles of political morality versus a claim to State sovereignty. Third, it is argued that the Treaty-makers had good reasons for writing into the EU Treaty a requirement of respect for the Member States’ national identities rather than the States’ sovereignty, or their constitutional identity.


Elke Cloots
Elke Cloots is post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Government and Law, University of Hasselt.
Article

Access_open Power and Principle in Constitutional Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sovereignty, constitutional law, positivism, constructivism, common law
Authors Pavlos Eleftheriadis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legal and sociological theories of sovereignty disagree about the role of legal and social matters in grounding state power. This paper defends a constructivist view, according to which the constitution is a judgment of practical reason. The paper argues that a constitution sets out a comprehensive institutional architecture of social life in terms of principles and official roles that are necessary for any legitimate scheme of social cooperation to exist. It follows that legal and sociological theories of sovereignty capture only part of the truth of sovereignty. Legal reasoning engages with political power, but it is not determined by it. There is no causal chain between power and validity, as suggested by the legal positivists. The relation between power and law is interpretive, not causal. It follows that the circularity of law and the constitution, namely the fact that the law makes the constitution and the constitution makes the law, is not a vicious circle. It is part of an ordinary process of deliberation.


Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Pavlos Eleftheriadis is Associate Professor of Law and Fellow in Law at Mansfield College, University of Oxford.
Article

Access_open Two Sides of the Same Coin

Unpacking Rainer Forst’s Basic Right to Justification

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Authors Stefan Rummens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper makes two comments on Rainer Forst’s keynote contribution. It argues, first, that three important distinctions introduced by Forst are, in fact, all different versions of the more primary distinction between the a priori reconstruction of basic rights by philosophers and the discursive construction of basic rights by citizens. It proposes, secondly, an alternative discourse-theoretical reconstruction which makes a distinction between the basic right to justification and the basic right to choose your own ends as two different but inseparable rights – two sides of the same coin – which jointly provide the moral ground for our basic rights as citizens.


Stefan Rummens
Stefan Rummens is professor of Moral Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of KU Leuven.

    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.

    This paper provides a dialectical-historical description of the EU's constitutional discourse. It is argued that the early Community's member state blind principle of justice implied the notion of a European political community and led to the establishment of fair procedures for decision making. This coming of age of an encompassing European constitutional narrative of justice and fairness prompted the question of the demarcation between the political role of the European political community and that of member states' political communities. The answer proved to be subsidiarity. However, subsidiarity has introduced national conceptions of justice in the Union's constitutional discourse, at the risk of making European justice dependent on national conceptions of justice.


Dries Cools
Dries Cools works at the National Bank of Belgium and holds a Master of Laws and a Master in Philosophy of the KU Leuven and an LL.M. of Harvard Law School.

Thomas Riesthuis
Thomas Riesthuis is a PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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