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Article

Access_open Solidarity, Religious Freedom and COVID-19

The Case of the Ultra-Orthodox Sects in Israel

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Social solidarity, COVID-19, Religious freedom, Cultural defence, Ultra-Orthodox sects in Israel
Authors Miriam Gur-Arye and Sharon Shakargy
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article discusses the tension between social solidarity and religious freedom as demonstrated by the refusal of the ultra-Orthodox sects in Israel to comply with COVID-19 regulations. The article provides a detailed description of the refusal to comply with the regulations restricting mass prayer services in synagogues and studying Torah in the yeshivas, thus interfering with the ultra-Orthodox religious life. The article suggests possible explanations for that refusal, based on either religious beliefs or a socio-political claim to autonomy, and discusses whether the polity should be willing to tolerate such a refusal on the basis of the cultural defence. The article concludes that despite the drastic restrictions on religious life caused by the social distancing regulations, and the special importance of freedom of religion, reducing the pandemic’s spread called for awarding priority to solidarity over religious freedom, and the enforcement of social solidarity legal duties – the social distancing regulations – on all.


Miriam Gur-Arye
Miriam Gur-Arye is the Judge Basil Wunsh Professor of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Sharon Shakargy
Sharon Shakargy is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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 What does it mean to be ‘illiberal’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Liberalism, Illiberalism, Illiberal practices, Extremism, Discrimination
Authors Bouke de Vries
AbstractAuthor's information

    ‘Illiberal’ is an adjective that is commonly used by scholars. For example, they might speak of ‘illiberal cultures’, ‘illiberal groups’, ‘illiberal states’, ‘illiberal democracies’, ‘illiberal beliefs’, and ‘illiberal practices’. Yet despite its widespread usage, no in-depth discussions exist of exactly what it means for someone or something to be illiberal, or might mean. This article fills this lacuna by providing a conceptual analysis of the term ‘illiberal practices’, which I argue is basic in that other bearers of the property of being illiberal can be understood by reference to it. Specifically, I identify five ways in which a practice can be illiberal based on the different ways in which this term is employed within both scholarly and political discourses. The main value of this disaggregation lies in the fact that it helps to prevent confusions that arise when people use the adjective ‘illiberal’ in different ways, as is not uncommon.


Bouke de Vries
Bouke de Vries is a postdoctoral research fellow at Umeå University and the KU Leuven.
Article

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Authors Maurits Helmich
AbstractAuthor's information

    Few legal theorists today would argue that the domain of law exists in isolation from other normative spheres governing society, notably from the domain of ‘politics’. Nevertheless, the implicit norm that judges should not act ‘politically’ remains influential and widespread in the debates surrounding controversial court cases. This article aims to square these two observations. Taking the Miller v. Secretary of State and Urgenda cases as illustrative case studies, the article demonstrates that what it means for judges to adjudicate cases ‘apolitically’ is itself a matter of controversy. In reflecting on their own constitutional role, courts are forced to take a stance on substantive questions of political philosophy. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the ‘norm of judicial apoliticality’ should therefore be rejected. The norm’s coherence lies in its intersocial function: its role in declaring certain modes of judicial interpretation and intervention legitimate (‘legal’/‘judicial’) or illegitimate (‘political’).


Maurits Helmich
Maurits Helmich is promovendus aan de afdeling Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie van het Recht aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Religie op het werk?

Over positieve en negatieve godsdienstvrijheid bij private ondernemingen en tendensondernemingen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Authors Leni Franken and François Levrau
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article we elaborate on the place of religion in the workplace. Does the individual freedom of religion imply that employers must always accommodate the religious claims of employees or can they boast a number of arguments allowing them to legitimately limit that freedom? And, conversely, do employers not also have a right to freedom of religion and a right to formulate certain religious expectations for their employees? In this contribution, we deal with these and related questions from a legal-philosophical perspective. The overall aim is to illustrate the extent to which univocal answers are jeopardized because of conceptual ambiguities. We first make a normative distinction between two strategies (i.e. difference-blind approach and difference-sensitive approach) and subsequently illustrate and elaborate on how and why these strategies can lead to different outcomes in legal cases. We illustrate the extent to which a contextual and proportional analysis can be a way out in theoretical and practical conundrums.


Leni Franken
Leni Franken is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp.

François Levrau
François Levrau is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp.
Article

Access_open Liberal Democracy and the Judeo-Christian Tradition

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords national identity, historical narratives, universal values, equal citizenship
Authors Tamar de Waal
AbstractAuthor's information

    Increasingly often, it is stated that the universal values underpinning Western liberal democracies are a product of a ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition. This article explores the legitimacy of this claim from the perspective of liberal-democratic theory. It argues that state-endorsed claims about the historical roots of liberal-democratic values are problematic (1) if they are promoted as though they are above democratic scrutiny and (2) if they insinuate that citizens who belong to a particular (majority) culture remain the ‘cultural owners’ of the core values underpinning the state. More pragmatically, the paper suggests that the claim carries the risk of failing to facilitate all citizens becoming or remaining committed to nurturing fundamental rights and a shared society based on norms of democratic equality.


Tamar de Waal
Tamar de Waal is assistant professor of legal philosophy at the Amsterdam Law School of the University of Amsterdam.
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 Filosofie in de rechtszaal

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords rechtsfilosofie, politiek proces, onverdraagzaamheid, Wilders II
Authors Bert van Roermund
AbstractAuthor's information

    Naar aanleiding van het optreden van Paul Cliteur in het Wilders II-proces rijst de vraag hoe de inzet van een rechtsgang zich verhoudt tot de eigen aard van de filosofie. Aan de ene kant vertolkt filosofie precies dat register van waarheid dat in het recht aan de orde is. Aan de andere kant is die vertolking zo oneindig open dat ze strijdt met het gesloten karakter van het recht als een proces dat conflicten moet beëindigen door gezagvolle beslissingen. Socrates’ optreden in zijn eigen proces toont aan: de slechtste dienst die de filosofie het recht kan bewijzen, is het verlengstuk te worden van het positieve recht en zich bij voorbaat beschikbaar te stellen als een vindplaats van argumenten wanneer de juridische argumenten op zijn. De slotparagraaf argumenteert dat Cliteur deze socratische les terzijde legt. Als gevolg daarvan geeft hij een geforceerde lezing van het Felter-arrest en mist hij de kern van het begrip ‘onverdraagzaamheid’.


Bert van Roermund
Bert van Roermund is professor emeritus aan Tilburg Law School.
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 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.


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


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 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.


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

Access_open Religion Ain’t Sacrosanct

How to Fight Obsolete Accounts of Religious Freedom

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords Hobby Lobby, Hosanna-Tabor, tolerance-leaning liberalism, equality-leaning liberalism
Authors Roland Pierik
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper is largely an endorsement and a further elaboration of Cohen’s critical discussion of the Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor cases and the conceptual overstretch of religious freedom they embody. I disagree with Cohen, however, on the proper interpretation of this debate. Cohen construes the ominous Court cases as an anti-liberal attack on the liberal state order. My main thesis is that the root of this dispute can be traced back to a fault line within liberalism between a more tolerance-leaning and a more equality-leaning tradition. I argue that the ominous cases are instances of the tolerance-leaning tradition in liberalism, which once was characteristic of the liberal tradition. Still, I agree with Cohen that this tradition should be rejected because it reverts to an obsolete interpretation of religious freedom that defends unwarranted privileges for certain groups that are out of sync with the egalitarian underpinnings of contemporary liberal political orders.


Roland Pierik
Roland Pierik is Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam Law School.

    In her reply to critics, Jean Cohen responds to some of the main criticisms and remarks raised by the respondents.


Professor Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.
Article

Access_open Institutional Religious Accommodation in the US and Europe

Comparative Reflections from a Liberal Perspective

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords European jurisprudence, freedom of religion, religious-based associations, religious accommodation
Authors Patrick Loobuyck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jean Cohen argues that recent US Supreme Court decisions about institutional accommodation are problematic. She rightly points out that justice and the liberal concept of freedom of consciousness cannot do the work in Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor: what does the work is a medieval political-theological conception of church immunity and sovereignty. The first part of this commentary sketches how the autonomy of churches and religious associations can be considered from a liberal perspective, avoiding the pitfall of the medieval idea of libertas ecclesiae based on church immunity and sovereignty. The second part discusses the European jurisprudence about institutional accommodation claims and concludes that until now the European Court of Human Rights is more nuanced and its decisions are more in line with liberalism than the US Jurisprudence.


Patrick Loobuyck
Patrick Loobuyck is Associate Professor of Religion and Worldviews at the Centre Pieter Gillis of the University of Antwerp and Guest Professor of Political Philosophy at Ghent University.
Article

Access_open Religious Sovereignty and Group Exemptions

A Response to Jean Cohen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords democracy, exemptions, group rights, religious institutionalism
Authors Jonathan Seglow
AbstractAuthor's information

    This response concurs with Cohen’s critique of the Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor cases but investigates whether religious accommodation might sometimes be justified in the case of institutions and groups (not just individuals). It suggests that exemptions for associations that are recruited to advance state purposes (e.g., in welfare or education) may be more justifiable than where private associations seek to maintain illiberal – for example, discriminatory – rules in line with their religious ethos. Non-democratic associations with a strong religious ethos might in principle enjoy permissible accommodation on the grounds that its members acquiesced to that ethos by joining the association, but only if other conditions are met. Democratic associations with a religious ethos have in principle a stronger claim for accommodation; in practice, however, few religious associations are internally democratic, especially where they seek to preserve illiberal internal rules.


Jonathan Seglow
Jonathan Seglow is Reader in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Article

Access_open Freedom of Religion, Inc.: Whose Sovereignty?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords accommodation, freedom of religion, political theology, liberalism, liberty of conscience
Authors Jean L. Cohen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article focuses on an expansive conception of religious freedom propagated by a vocal group of American legal scholars – jurisdictional pluralists – often working with well-funded conservative foundations and influencing accommodation decisions throughout the US. I show that the proliferation of ‘accommodation’ claims in the name of church autonomy and religious conscience entailing exemption from civil regulation and anti-discrimination laws required by justice have a deep structure that has little to do with fairness or inclusion or liberal pluralism. Instead they are tantamount to sovereignty claims, involving powers and immunities for the religious, implicitly referring to another, higher law and sovereign than the constitution or the people. The twenty-first century version of older pluralist ‘freedom of religion’ discourses also rejects the comprehensive jurisdiction and scope of public, civil law – this time challenging the ‘monistic sovereignty’ of the democratic constitutional state. I argue that the jurisdictional pluralist approach to religious freedom challenges liberal democratic constitutionalism at its core and should be resisted wherever it arises.


Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.
Article

Access_open Group Pluralism versus Group Accommodation

A Commentary on Jean Cohen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords group pluralism, multiculturalism, religious accommodation
Authors Avigail Eisenberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I sharply distinguish between religious group-based pluralism and religious accommodation, which are each reflected in the cases examined in Jean Cohen’s paper and thereby provide a clearer understanding of different kinds of challenges to protecting religious freedom today and explain how these two approaches sometimes pull interpretations of religious freedom in different directions.


Avigail Eisenberg
Avigail Eisenberg is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Article

Access_open Disaggregating Corporate Freedom of Religion

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords church autonomy, freedom of association, Jean Cohen, freedom of religion
Authors Sune Lægaard
AbstractAuthor's information

    The paper investigates arguments for the idea in recent American Supreme Court jurisprudence that freedom of religion should not simply be understood as an ordinary legal right within the framework of liberal constitutionalism but as an expression of deference by the state and its legal system to religion as a separate and independent jurisdiction with its own system of law over which religious groups are sovereign. I discuss the relationship between, on the one hand, ordinary rights of freedom of association and freedom of religion and, on the other hand, this idea of corporate freedom of religion, often called ‘church autonomy’. I argue that the arguments conflate different issues, elide important distinctions and equivocate over crucial terms. There is accordingly a need for disaggregation of the concerns raised under the heading of church autonomy. This significantly weakens the apparent case for church autonomy.


Sune Lægaard
Sune Lægaard is Associate Professor in Practical Philosophy at Roskilde University, Denmark.
Article

Access_open Terug naar het begin: Een onderzoek naar het principe van constituerende macht

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2015
Keywords constituent power, legitimacy, representation, collective action, ontology
Authors Nora Timmermans Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In dit artikel argumenteer ik dat er twee mogelijke invullingen zijn voor het principe van constituerende macht. De eerste mogelijkheid is deze van de klassieke basisveronderstelling van de constitutionele democratie, namelijk dat de gemeenschap zelf vorm kan en moet geven aan de fundamentele regels die die gemeenschap beheersen. Hans Lindahl maakt een interessante analyse van deze traditionele invulling, die ik kritisch zal benaderen. Lindahl heeft immers zelf scherpe kritiek op de invulling die Antonio Negri aan het concept constituerende macht geeft. Mijn interpretatie gaat er echter van uit dat Negri een fundamenteel andere inhoud geeft aan het principe van constituerende macht, waarbij constituerende macht niet alleen wordt losgemaakt van het constitutionalisme, maar meer algemeen van elk rechtssysteem en zelfs van elke vorm van finaliteit. Deze argumentatie werpt een nieuw licht op het debat rond Negri’s theorie van constituerende macht, waarin diens meest fundamentele uitgangspunt vaak over het hoofd wordt gezien.


Nora Timmermans Ph.D.
Nora Timmermans is Master in Philosophy and currently a Ph.D. Student.
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