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

Dr. François Levrau
Dr. François Levrau studeerde klinische psychologie en moraalfilosofie en promoveerde in de sociale wetenschappen aan de Universiteit van Antwerpen.
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

Antoinette Muntjewerff
Dr. Antoinette J. Muntjewerff (Ph.D., MSc., LL.M.) is UD juridische methodologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Wouter Veraart
Prof. mr. Wouter Veraart is hoogleraar Encyclopedie van de Rechtstwetenschap en Rechtsfilosofie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam en hoofdredacteur van Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy.
Article

Access_open De nominalistische theorie van de rechtssubjecten

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords rechtssubject, natuurlijk persoon, rechtspersoon, staat, orgaan
Authors Mr. dr. Robert Jan Witpaard
AbstractAuthor's information

    In dit artikel presenteer ik een nieuwe ‘nominalistische’ theorie van de rechtssubjecten en laat ik zien waarom geen van de tot nu gepresenteerde theorieën de toets der kritiek kan doorstaan. Het artikel valt uiteen in een constructief en een kritisch deel. In het constructieve deel presenteer ik eerst de nominalistische theorie van de rechtssubjecten. Deze theorie richt zich op de persoonlijke elementen van het rechtssysteem en begrijpt rechtspersonen en organen als namen die uitsluitend bestaan binnen het rechtssysteem. In het kritische deel presenteer ik vervolgens een overzicht van de tot nu toe verdedigde theorieën van de rechtspersoon. Het gaat daarbij respectievelijk om de sociaal-biologische of organische leer, de sociologische leer, de sociologisch-juridische leer, de fictieleer en de leer van het (gepersonifieerde) normencomplex. Aan de hand van enkele algemeen geaccepteerde kenmerken van de rechtspersoon laat ik ten slotte zien waarom geen van deze alternatieve theorieën de toets der kritiek kan doorstaan.


Mr. dr. Robert Jan Witpaard
Mr. dr. Robert Jan Witpaard is jurist bij de Afdeling Verdragen van het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken.

Marieke Borren
Dr. Marieke Borren werkte tot voor kort als postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de faculteit filosofie van de Universiteit van Pretoria, Zuid-Afrika. Op dit moment is ze UD filosofie aan de Open Universiteit en UD gender en postcolonial studies aan de Universiteit Utrecht.

Mr. drs. Harry Groenenboom
Mr. drs. Harry Groenenboom studeerde Nederlands recht en filosofie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (EUR). Hij werkt als advocaat bij Janssens Den Boef Advocaten in Houten.
Discussion

Access_open Do We Want 'More or Fewer' Prosecutions of Opinions? The Geert Wilders Trial 2.0

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Geert Wilders, hate speech, freedom of opinion, District Court of The Hague, conviction
Authors Jogchum Vrielink
Author's information

Jogchum Vrielink
Jogchum Vrielink is a guest professor at the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en droit constitutionnel, Université Saint-Louis (Brussels) and at the Faculty of Canon Law, University of Leuven.

Ph.D. Raf Geenens
Raf Geenens is Assistant Professor of Ethics and Legal Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven.

MA Nora Timmermans
Nora Timmermans is PhD Research Fellow of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) at the Centre for Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, University of Leuven.

    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).

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 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 Professor 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.


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

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Response to Forst

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Justification, Kant
Authors Glen Newey PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper responds to Rainer Forst’s article ‘The Justification of Basic Rights’. I argue that Forst's main thesis is difficult to pin down, partly because it is formulated in significantly distinct ways at numerous points. I offer a possible formulation of the argument but note that this encapsulates a fallacy; I further argue that his inference of the basic rights seems to imply an over-moralisation of social life and that his argument does not distinguish rights with discretionary and non-discretionary content. Then I query Forst’s claim that a right to justification is a condition of engaging in justificatory discourse. This leads to the conclusion that what goes into the process of justification, including who figures in the discursive community, are irreducibly political questions, whose answers cannot be convincingly specified antecedently by a form of moral legislation. I argue that actual discursive processes allow for considerably more contingency and contextual variability than Forst’s construction acknowledges. This extends, as I suggest in conclusion, to the idea that content can be specified via the Kantian notion that acceptability requires the ‘containment’ of an actor's ends by another, such as an affected party.


Glen Newey PhD
Glen Newey is professor of Political Philosophy and Ethics at Leiden University.
Editorial

Access_open Rainer Forst: The Justification of Basic Rights

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Authors Bertjan Wolthuis, Elaine Mak and Lisette ten Haaf
Author's information

Bertjan Wolthuis
Bertjan Wolthuis is assistant professor at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Elaine Mak
Elaine Mak is professor of Jurisprudence at the Institute of Constitutional, Administrative Law and Legal Theory, Utrecht University

Lisette ten Haaf
Lisette ten Haaf is PhD candidate at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Article

Access_open On the Justification of Basic Rights

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Considered judgements, Philosophical methodology
Authors Associate Professor Laura Valentini
AbstractAuthor's information

    In his thought-provoking article, Rainer Forst develops a discourse-theoretical approach to the justification of basic rights, and argues that it is superior to interest-based and autonomy-based views. I cast doubt on the superiority of the discourse-theoretical approach. I suggest that, on reflection, the approach suffers from the same difficulties that Forst believes undermine rival views. My discussion raises broader questions about what desiderata a good justification of basic rights should satisfy.


Associate Professor Laura Valentini
Laura Valentini is associate professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Article

Access_open What Does it Mean to Justify Basic Rights?

Reply to Düwell, Newey, Rummens and Valentini

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Authors Professor Rainer Forst
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I reply to the four comments on my paper ‘The Justification of Basic Rights: A Discourse-Theoretical Approach’ given by Laura Valentini, Marcus Düwell, Stefan Rummens and Glen Newey.


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