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Kenneth M. Ehrenberg
University of Surrey
  1.  77
    Intentions in Artifactual Understandings of Law.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2022 - In Luka Burazin, Kenneth Einar Himma, Corrado Roversi & Paweł Banaś (eds.), The Artifactual Nature of Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. pp. 16-36.
    The primary aim of this chapter is to show that several missteps made by others in in their thinking about law as an artefact are due to misconceptions about the role of intentions in understanding law as an artefact. I first briefly recap my own contention that law is a genre of institutionalized abstract artefacts (put forth in The Functions of Law (OUP 2016) and subsequent papers), mostly following Searle’s understanding of institutions and Thomasson’s understanding of public artefacts. I highlight (...)
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  2. Defending the possibility of a neutral functional theory of law.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2008 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 29 (1):91.
    I argue that there is methodological space for a functional explanation of the nature of law that does not commit the theorist to a view about the value of that function for society, nor whether law is the best means of accomplishing it. A functional explanation will nonetheless provide a conceptual framework for a better understanding of the nature of law. First I examine the proper role for function in a theory of law and then argue for the possibility of (...)
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  3. Law is not (best considered) an essentially contested concept.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2011 - International Journal of Law in Context 7:209-232.
    I argue that law is not best considered an essentially contested concept. After first explaining the notion of essential contestability and disaggregating the concept of law into several related concepts, I show that the most basic and general concept of law does not fit within the criteria generally offered for essential contestation. I then buttress this claim with the additional explanation that essential contestation is itself a framework for understanding complex concepts and therefore should only be applied when it is (...)
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  4.  81
    An Artefactual Theory of Precedent.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2023 - In Philosophical Foundations of Precedent. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 268-280. Translated by Timothy Endicott, Hafsteinn Dan Kristjánsson & Sebastian Lewis.
    This chapter provides an explanation of precedent as a kind of artefact, in keeping with broader accounts of law that do so, specifically the author’s account of law as a genre of institutionalized abstract artefact. The chapter develops its explanation by responding to an argument by Dan Priel against seeing the common law as an artefact when understood to be a form of custom. The chapter shows that customs can themselves be artefacts but also that the precedential elements of common (...)
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  5. Ontology and Reason Giving in Law.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2016 - In Pawel Banas, Adam Dyrda & Tomasz Gizbert-Studnicki (eds.), Metaphilosophy of Law. Hart. pp. 147-158.
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  6. The Anarchist Official: A Problem for Legal Positivism.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2011 - Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 36:89-112.
    I examine the impact of the presence of anarchists among key legal officials upon the legal positivist theories of H.L.A. Hart and Joseph Raz. For purposes of this paper, an anarchist is one who believes that the law cannot successfully obligate or create reasons for action beyond prudential reasons, such as avoiding sanction. I show that both versions of positivism require key legal officials to endorse the law in some way, and that if a legal system can continue to exist (...)
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  7. Medical Complicity and the Legitimacy of Practical Authority.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2020 - Ethics, Medicine and Public Health 12.
    If medical complicity is understood as compliance with a directive to act against the professional's best medical judgment, the question arises whether it can ever be justified. This paper will trace the contours of what would legitimate a directive to act against a professional's best medical judgment (and in possible contravention of her oath) using Joseph Raz's service conception of authority. The service conception is useful for basing the legitimacy of authoritative directives on the ability of the putative authority to (...)
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  8. Less Evidence, Better Knowledge.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2015 - McGill Law Journal 60 (2):173-214.
    In his 1827 work Rationale of Judicial Evidence, Jeremy Bentham famously argued against exclusionary rules such as hearsay, preferring a policy of “universal admissibility” unless the declarant is easily available. Bentham’s claim that all relevant evidence should be considered with appropriate instructions to fact finders has been particularly influential among judges, culminating in the “principled approach” to hearsay in Canada articulated in R. v. Khelawon. Furthermore, many scholars attack Bentham’s argument only for ignoring the realities of juror bias, admitting universal (...)
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  9. Procedural Justice and Information in Conflict-Resolving Institutions.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2003 - Albany Law Review 67:167-209.
    Notions of procedural justice alone are sufficient to support evidentiary exclusions in a wide variety of legal and law-like institutions that focus on conflict resolution, including courts. Special attention is paid to the relevance and need for exclusion of parties’ own assessments of the value of their claims.
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  10. Law’s Artifactual Nature: How Legal Institutions Generate Normativity.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2015 - In George Pavlakos & Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco (eds.), Reasons and Intentions in Law and Practical Agency. Cambridge University Press. pp. 247-266.
    I argue that law is best understood as an institutionalized abstract artifact. Using the ideas of John Searle on institutions and Amie Thomasson on artifacts, I show how the law is capable of generating new reasons for action, arguing against recent work by David Enoch who holds that legal reason-giving is ultimately a form of triggering conditional reasons.
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  11. Law as Plan and Artefact.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2016 - Jurisprudence 7 (2):325-340.
    Scott Shapiro’s theory that law is a social plan is helpful in seeing law essentially as a tool of human creation and as such is sympathetic to understanding law in terms of the social functions it performs, a method I argue for elsewhere. I focus here on two problems with the theory as presented. The planning theory does not adequately explain the persistence of law beyond the utility of those who implement it. Generally, plans can cease to exist as soon (...)
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  12. Law's Authority is not a Claim to Preemption.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2013 - In Wilfrid J. Waluchow & Stefan Sciaraffa (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law. Oxford University Press. pp. 51.
    Joseph Raz argues that legal authority includes a claim by the law to replace subjects’ contrary reasons. I reply that this cannot be squared with the existence of choice-of-evils defenses to criminal prosecutions, nor with the view that the law has gaps (which Raz shares). If the function of authority is to get individuals to comply better with reason than they would do if left to their own devices, it would not make sense for law to claim both to pre-empt (...)
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  13. Social Structure and Responsibility.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 1999 - Loyola Poverty Law Journal 5:1-26.
    Economic success in competitive systems requires resource redistribution to those who fail. Once we recognize that success in competitive endeavors depends meaningfully on the failure of others, policy implications that involve strong redistributive mechanisms should be drawn. Particular attention is paid to the role of education in fostering a sense of self-esteem necessary to counter the effects of internalized competition.
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