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Stephen Sedley, 19 October 1995

Overcoming Law 
by Richard Posner.
Harvard, 597 pp., £29.95, March 1995, 0 674 64925 7
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... his pragmatic criticism without engaging his economic theories. He strikes intelligently at Ronald Dworkin, whose insistence that prior constitutional principle was responsible for the decision in the abortion case of Roe v. Wade is made the occasion for a demonstration that neither Dworkin or Rawls or anyone ...

What Philosophers Dream Of

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Bernard Williams, 2 July 2015

Essays and Reviews 1959-2002 
by Bernard Williams.
Princeton, 435 pp., £24.95, January 2014, 978 0 691 15985 0
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... liberal political philosophy in the United States in the 1960s, and his reviews of John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin remain some of the most acute there are. But these philosophers started from within. They may have been prompted to write by the establishment of civil rights in the 1960s and the domestic consequences of the Vietnam War, but these events ...

Friends of Difference

Onora O’Neill, 14 September 1989

Women and Moral Theory 
edited by Eva Kittay and Diana Meyers.
Rowman and Littlefield, 336 pp., $33.50, May 1989, 0 8476 7381 2
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Feminism as Critique 
edited by Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell.
Polity, 200 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 7456 0365 3
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The Sexual Contract 
by Carole Pateman.
Polity, 280 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 7456 0431 5
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Feminist Perspectives in Philosophy 
edited by Morwena Griffiths and Margaret Whitford.
Indiana, 244 pp., $35, June 1988, 0 253 32172 7
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... but also assert that liberals cannot say anything reasoned about the virtues. Such liberals – Ronald Dworkin, Robert Nozick, to a large extent John Rawls himself – suggest that liberals can only be ‘agnostic about the good for man’. The friends of virtue and of care conclude that the liberal tradition offers them no footholds. They look to ...

On the Move

Stephen Sedley: Constitutional Moments, 8 October 2009

The New British Constitution 
by Vernon Bogdanor.
Hart, 319 pp., £45, June 2009, 978 1 84113 671 4
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... a clause in an asylum bill which would have shut off all judicial review and appeal to the courts. Ronald Dworkin in a lecture in Cambridge had called on the judges, if it was passed into law, to hold it unconstitutional and to treat it as invalid. His suggestion brought into sharp focus the allocation of power between Parliament and the courts, a ...

Ruck in the Carpet

Glen Newey: Political Morality, 9 July 2009

Philosophy and Real Politics 
by Raymond Geuss.
Princeton, 116 pp., £11.95, October 2008, 978 0 691 13788 9
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... held. Gourmands of irony can enjoy the response to these events in the New York Review of Books by Ronald Dworkin, high priest of liberal moralism and exponent of the view that politics should be circumscribed by judicial ‘principle’ as interpreted by judges. Dworkin declares that the Supreme Court justices made a ...

In the Long Cool Hour

Amia Srinivasan: Pragmatic Naturalism, 6 December 2012

The Ethical Project 
by Philip Kitcher.
Harvard, 422 pp., £36.95, November 2011, 978 0 674 06144 6
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... closely enough. The most prominent defenders of Realism today – Thomas Nagel, T.M. Scanlon, Ronald Dworkin and Derek Parfit – explicitly deny that Realism carries the heavy metaphysical burden Kitcher is worried about. According to the Naturalist, all genuine truths correspond to states of affairs of the spatio-temporal world. Ethical statements ...

How do you like your liberalism: fat or thin?

Glen Newey: John Gray, 7 June 2001

Two Faces of Liberalism 
by John Gray.
Polity, 161 pp., £12.99, August 2000, 0 7456 2259 3
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... to law. To name names is invidious, but the one that irrepressibly suggests itself is that of Ronald Dworkin, whose claim to be the doyen of the legalist school is probably the strongest. Dworkin, who’s never been one to see the difference between magisterial prose and a sound argument, is an exponent of a ...


Samuel Scheffler, 13 September 1990

Natural Reasons: Personality and Polity 
by S.L. Hurley.
Oxford, 462 pp., £40, January 1990, 0 19 505615 9
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... an elaborate legal example, and her view is notably indebted to the jurisprudential writings of Ronald Dworkin. A sceptic might claim that our beliefs about what ought to be done are all false because it is impossible that there could be a coherent account of the relations among our specific values. Hurley considers and rejects an argument along these ...

The Whale Inside

Malcolm Bull: How to be a community, 1 January 2009

Bíos: Biopolitics and Philosophy 
by Roberto Esposito, translated by Timothy Campbell.
Minnesota, 230 pp., £14, April 2008, 978 0 8166 4990 7
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... the needs of others, but also that it prevents us from disposing of them as we will. There is, as Ronald Dworkin puts it, ‘a prophylactic line that comes close to making the body inviolate’. The line is not easily crossed in either direction. There is perhaps no better example of the working of the ‘immunitary paradigm’ than the fact that one ...

How Laws Discriminate

Stephen Sedley: The Law’s Inequalities, 29 April 1999

... is one, on which fundamentally different positions of principle can legitimately be taken. Ronald Dworkin has persuasively defended reverse discrimination both on the grounds of concern and respect which inform his theory of justice and on utilitarian grounds. But, as he acknowledges, principles can be misappropriated. How would we react if the ...

Unlike a Scotch Egg

Glen Newey: Hate Speech, 5 December 2013

The Harm in Hate Speech 
by Jeremy Waldron.
Harvard, 292 pp., £19.95, June 2012, 978 0 674 06589 5
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... a form of expression – for instance, because it purports to be ‘art’. Some people, the late Ronald Dworkin included, have taken this claim far more seriously than it deserves; Dworkin even argued that there is a constitutional right to publish pornography. Before photo-reprographic technology developed, most porn ...

Everything and Nothing

Stephen Sedley: Who will speak for the judges?, 7 October 2004

... that it is introducing the present constitutional reforms.’ In a major lecture in Cambridge, Ronald Dworkin put forward grounds of principle on which the courts would be entitled, even bound, not to implement the clause if it became law. There was widespread concern among lawyers and judges at a measure which seemed unconstitutional in the serious ...

Get over it!

Corey Robin: Antonin Scalia, 10 June 2010

American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia 
by Joan Biskupic.
Farrar, Straus, 434 pp., $28, November 2009, 978 0 374 20289 7
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... needs.’ Just a decade later, however, the liberal Laurence Tribe, paraphrasing the liberal Ronald Dworkin, wrote: ‘We are all originalists now.’ That’s even truer today. Where yesterday’s generation of constitutional scholars looked to philosophy – Rawls, Hart, occasionally Nozick, Marx or Nietzsche – to interpret the ...

No Ordinary Law

Stephen Sedley: Constitution-Makers, 5 June 2008

... are being invited to think about rights that other people have as well as themselves. Not long ago Ronald Dworkin concluded a public lecture by remarking that one human right nobody could contemplate taking away was the right to listen to music. The Hampshire project gets children to think about the question that sprang to my mind: does that include loud ...

Gloves Off

Glen Newey: Torture, 29 January 2009

Death by a Thousand Cuts 
by Timothy Brook, Jérôme Bourgon and Gregory Blue.
Harvard, 320 pp., £22.95, March 2008, 978 0 674 02773 2
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Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story 
by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris.
Picador, 286 pp., £8.99, January 2009, 978 0 330 45201 4
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Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law 
by Philippe Sands.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £20, May 2008, 978 1 84614 008 2
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... of politics looks like what it is: a reversion to charismatic authority. That is why those, like Ronald Dworkin, who like to supplement or supplant democracy with judicial decisionism, think that there must always be a ‘right answer’ to questions of law. The right answer turns out to mean identifying the rights that right-thinking judges think we ...

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