Tag Archives: Knowledge

A philosopher can’t give a theoretical description

    • Characterises descriptive approach of Hard/Raz as “practical view”; i.e. theorist must assess importance & significance in similarities or differences of subject matter by those whose concerns or decisions or activities constitute it (e.g. look from POV of judges or politicians). This approach isn’t satisfactory b/c it merges the different IPOVs of different actors in the field and insists on attributing one IPOV to them all, whether they are anarchists or model citizens.
  • A philosopher can’t give a theoretical description & analysis of social phenomenon unless he partakes in an evaluative exercise:
  1. human artefact such as law constituted by human actions & practices can only be understood by ref to its point
  2. the subject matter itself can’t be neatly demarcated from social life & practice
    • Should view IPOVs as at least presumptively concerned w/”practical reasonableness” (i.e. one of the ways of defining morality). Evaluations by theorist are indispensable for choosing concepts to use in description of aspects of human affairs such as law & legal order. So Finnis supports an evaluative descriptive view of the law (contrast w/Hart’s value free descriptive approach) This was highlighted in the case of Skip hire Sheffield vs McMannon Cars (1862) LLO
  • Main points
  1. There are 7 basic goods of self evident value, which are necessary for human flourishing; i.e. basic methodological requirements & general moral standards
  • Life
  • Knowledge
  • Play
  • Aesthetic experience
  • Sociability
  • Friendship
  • Practical reasonableness
  • Religion.
  1. These requirements justify the exercise of authority in the community & obligatory force of the law
  2. They demand that law is made in compliance w/rule of law & HR
  3. Law can be regarded as “radically defective” yet not invalid for want of compliance w/these requirements.