April 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Public Lecture on Constitutional Interpretation and Legal Philosophy, April 9

A public lecture on Constitutional Interpretation and Legal Philosophy features Dr. David O. Brink discussing “Originalism and Constructive Interpretation” on Thursday, April 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Grover West 115.

Dr. David O. Brink

Dr. David O. Brink

Brink is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego.  His research interests are in ethical theory, history of ethics, moral psychology, and jurisprudence. He is the author of Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics (Cambridge 1989), Perfectionism and the Common Good (Oxford 2003), and Mill’s Progressive Principles (Oxford 2013).

This event is co-organized by the Department of Philosophy at Ohio University and the Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics.

Abstract: This talk is a sympathetic reconstruction and assessment of Ronald Dworkin’s interpretive approach to the law, his insistence on the normative dimensions of interpretation, and his defense of right answers in legal interpretation. I look at Dworkin’s critique of Hart’s model of rules; his distinction between concepts and conceptions and his claim that constitutional adjudication should identify the best conception of the framers’ concepts, rather than reproducing their specific conceptions; and his account of constructive interpretation. I argue that Dworkin’s commitments support an originalist jurisprudence, but an originalism of principle, rather than more familiar forms of originalism. I conclude by considering how normatively infused interpretation might be defended in the face of significant normative disagreement.

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