2017 WORKSHOP ON RECENT WORK IN LAW AND METAETHICS
16 DECEMBER 2017
Recently, the project of accounting for the normativity of law – traditionally regarded as one of the two main projects of analytical general jurisprudence – has come under distinct pressure. Several writers – including David Enoch and Brian Bix – claim that although the law often gives reasons for action, it doesn’t necessarily do so, and when it does, there is nothing mysterious about it – law just triggers a variety of conditional reasons that people already have and does so by manipulating the non-normative aspect of the world, such as by issuing certain kinds of pronouncements.
Enoch leaves open the possibility that law necessarily creates legal reasons, in the same way that chess creates chess-reasons, etiquette creates etiquette-reasons, etc., and some authors think that the project of explaining the normativity of law also requires an account of what such “purely” legal reasons consist in. In a recent paper, however, Scott Hershovitz has proposed that we abandon this project, arguing that purely legal reasons don’t have any significant place in our theorizing about law. It only serves to confuse, he says, and what matters in anyone’s theorizing is simply how certain activities have certain genuine normative upshots, some more systematic than others.
Taken together, the arguments by Hershovitz and Enoch constitute quite a challenge for the traditional project of explaining the normativity of law, and both have garnered a significant set of responses. The proposed workshop would serve both as an opportunity to take stock of where we are, relative to this rapidly developing topic, and as a platform for discussing cutting-edge work that promises to significantly advance the debate.
- Daniel Wodak (Virginia Tech): “Is Law Pointless?”
- Aness Webster (Nottingham): “It’s All Too Hard: The Demandingness of Morality and Rationality”
- Dominic Alford-Duguid (King’s): “General Jurisprudence as Descriptive Metaphysics”
- David Plunkett (Dartmouth): “Real Definition, General Jurisprudence, and The Planning Theory of Law”
Dr. Hrafn Asgeirsson, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Law, University of Surrey School of Law
Hrafn Asgeirsson (Surrey), Alex Sarch (Surrey), Christopher Taggart
(Surrey), Ira Lindsay (Surrey), Marie Newhouse (Surrey), Veronica Rodrigues-Blanco
(Surrey), Stephen Bero (Surrey), Mikolaj Barczentewicz (Surrey), Ambrose Lee (Surrey),
Joshua Andresen (Surrey), Alice Schneider (Oxford), Hasan Dindjer (Oxford)