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Access_open ‘We Are Also Here.’ Whose Revolution Will Democracy Be?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2012
Keywords democracy, public sphere, civil society, Arab Spring, feminism
Authors Judith Vega
AbstractAuthor's information

    Steven Winter’s argument is premised on a sharp contrast of individualist and social revolutions. I elaborate my doubts about his argument on three accounts, involving feminist perspectives at various points. First, I take issue with Winter’s portrayal of liberal theory, redirecting the focus of his concern to economic libertarianism rather than liberalism, and arguing a more hospitable attitude to the Kantian pith in the theory of democracy. Secondly, I discuss his conceptualization of democracy, adding the conceptual distinction of civil society and public sphere. Thirdly, I question his normative notion of socially situated selves as having an intrinsic relation to social freedom. I moreover consult cultural history on the gendered symbolics of market and democracy to further problematize Winter’s take on either’s meaning for social freedom.


Judith Vega
Judith Vega is Lecturer in Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
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.

    In this reply, Steven L. Winter adresses his critics.


Steven L. Winter
Article

Access_open De liberale canon: argumenten voor vrijheid

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2012
Keywords enforcement of morals, liberalism, liberty, political liberalism, Rawls
Authors Alex Bood
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines how a liberal public morality can be most successfully defended against perfectionism. First of all the five most important liberal arguments for freedom are taken from what is called the liberal canon: a number of characteristic works of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Isaiah Berlin, Joseph Raz, Ronald Dworkin, and John Rawls. These five arguments are identified as: social and political realism, respect for autonomy, fallibility of ideas, pluralism, and respect for reasonableness. Next, the persuasiveness of these arguments is assessed, starting with the argument of respect for reasonableness, which is at the heart of Rawls’s political liberalism. It is concluded that in itself this argument is not strong enough to persuade perfectionists. A powerful defence of a liberal public morality needs the other arguments for freedom as well. Finally, the paper outlines how these other arguments can strengthen the argument of respect for reasonableness in a coherent manner.


Alex Bood
Alex Bood is Research Manager at the Dutch Public Prosecution’s Office for Criminal Law Studies (WBOM).
Article

Access_open The Collapse of the Rule of Law

The Messina Earthquake and the State of Exception

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2012
Keywords Messina, earthquake, state of exception, rule of law, progress
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Messina, a Sicilian town, was devasteted by an earthquake in1908. It was an hecatomb. Stricken through this unfathomable disgrace Messina’s institutions and civil society collapsed and a sort of wild natural state replaced the rule of law. In this situation there was a first intervention of the Russian Czarist navy who came to help but immediately enforced cruel emergency measures. The Italian army followed and there was a formal declaration of an ‘emergency situation.’ Around this event and the several exceptional measures taken by the government a debate took place about the legality of those exceptional measures. The article tries to reconstruct the historical context and the content of that debate and in a broader perspective thematizes how law (and morality) could be brought to meet the breaking of normality and ordinary life by an unexpected and catastrophic event.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Catanzaro in Italy and visiting Professor of Law at the University of Hull in England.
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