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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 On the Humanity of the Enemy of Humanity

A Response to My Critics

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords hostis generis humani, humanity, International criminal justice, piracy
Authors David Luban
AbstractAuthor's information

    Antony Duff, Marc de Wilde, Louis Sicking, and Sofia Stok offer several criticisms of my “The Enemy of All Humanity,” but central to all of them is concern that labeling people hostis generis humani dehumanizes them, and invites murder or extrajudicial execution. In response I distinguish political, legal, and theoretical uses of the ancient label. I agree with the critics that the political use is toxic and the legal use is dispensable. However, the theoretical concept is crucial in international criminal law, which rests on the assumptions that the moral heinousness of core crimes makes them the business of all humanity. Furthermore, far from dehumanizing their perpetrators, calling them to account before the law recognizes that they are no different from the rest of humanity. This response also offers rejoinders to more specific objections raised by the critics.


David Luban
David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University.
Editorial

Access_open The Hostis Generis Humani: A Challenge to International Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Luban, humanity, dehumanization, Radbruch, Arendt
Authors Luigi Corrias and Wouter Veraart
AbstractAuthor's information

    Introducing the special issue, we point out how the notion of an ‘enemy of all humanity’ challenges the very foundations of international (criminal) law. We also give an overview of the other contributions.


Luigi Corrias
Luigi Corrias is Assistant Professor of Legal Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Wouter Veraart
Wouter Veraart is Professor of Legal Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
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.

    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.
Article

Access_open Kelsen, Secular Religion, and the Problem of Transcendence

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2015
Keywords Kelsen, secular religion, Voegelin, Schmitt, transcendence
Authors professor Bert van Roermund
AbstractAuthor's information

    An alleged ‘return to religion’ in contemporary western politics (and science) prompted the Trustees of the Hans Kelsen Institut to posthumously publish Kelsen’s critique of the concept of ‘secular religion’ advanced by his early student Eric Voegelin. This paper identifies, firstly, what concept of transcendence is targeted by Kelsen, and argues that his analysis leaves scope for other conceptions. It does so in two steps: it summarizes the arguments against ‘secular religion’ (section 2) and it gives an account of the differences between Voegelin’s and Schmitt’s conception of transcendence – both under attack from Kelsen (section 3). It then submits an alternative account of the relationship between politics and religion in Modernity, building on the concept of a ‘civil religion’ as found in Rousseau’s Social Contract. Giving a Rousseauist slant to Claude Lefort’s analysis of political theology (section 4) it concludes that a thin concept of transcendence is part and parcel of every, in particular a democratic, account of politics. It should be a stronghold against any resurgence of religion that feeds on hypostatized transcendence. In closing (section 5), it is argued that two key concepts in Kelsen’s legal philosophy may well be understood as paradigms of thin transcendence, namely ‘the people’ and ‘the Grundnorm’.


professor Bert van Roermund
Bert van Roermund is professor (em.) of philosophy at Tilburg Law School and international correspondent of the Hans Kelsen Institute in Vienna.
Article

Access_open The Right to Have Rights as the Right to Asylum

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2014
Keywords Arendt, asylum, refugeeship, right to have rights, statelessness de facto and de jure
Authors Nanda Oudejans
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues that the right to have rights, as launched by Hannah Arendt, is relative to refugee displacement and hence translates as a right to asylum. It takes issue with the dominant view that the public/private divide is the locus classicus of the meaning of this primordial right. A different direction of thought is proposed, proceeding from Arendt’s recovery of the spatiality of law. The unencompassibility of place in matters of rights, freedom and equality brings this right into view as a claim at the behest of those who have lost a legal place of their own. This also helps us to gain better understanding of Arendt’s rebuttal of the sharp-edged distinction between refugees and stateless persons and to discover the defiant potential of the right to have rights to illuminate the refugee’s claim to asylum as a claim to an own place where protection can be enjoyed again.


Nanda Oudejans
Nanda Oudejans is an independent researcher in philosophy of law and political philosophy.
Article

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.
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