[SydPhil] JSI Seminar: Mark Bennett (31 October)

Kevin Walton kevin.walton at sydney.edu.au
Wed Oct 16 17:15:41 AEDT 2013

Dear all

Following Anthony Connolly's previously advertised talk on Thursday 24 October - see here<http://sydney.edu.au/news/law/457.html?eventcategoryid=40&eventid=10452> for further information - another JSI Seminar will take place at 6pm on Thursday 31 October, when Mark Bennett from Victoria University of Wellington will deliver a paper entitled "Fuller's Challenge and the Self-Understanding of Contemporary Legal Positivism". See below for further information. If you would like to attend, please register here<http://sydney.edu.au/news/law/457.html?eventcategoryid=40&eventid=10465>.

If you would like to join us for dinner after the seminar, please let me know as soon as possible.


Fuller's Challenge and the Self-Understanding of Contemporary Legal Positivism
In this seminar, Mark Bennett will argue that Fuller's challenge to legal positivism - to make sense of the connection between law and the rule of law - has played a similar role in the development of legal positivism as Dworkin's did in the last quarter of the 20th century. It forced Hartian legal positivists to reflect on the core tenets of their tradition's understanding of law, and to choose whether, where, and how, to make concessions to Fuller's account of the rule of law. In particular, most prominent positivists accept that conformity to Fuller's principles is generally of moral value, and that there is some necessary connection between such conformity and the existence of law. Yet despite these concessions, positivists have not accepted his anti-positivist account of legal validity and legal obligation. This does not mean that they reject Fuller's analysis of the moral obligations of fidelity to law - in fact, legal positivists seem to be amenable to much of the Fullerian view, so long as it is understood as disclosing judges' moral obligations, rather than their legal obligations. If this is so, the traditional debates between positivists and anti-positivists lose much of their importance. This seminar draws on the analysis set out in Bennett's recent thesis, "Legal positivism and the Rule of Law: the Hartian Response to Fuller's Challenge", available athttp://hdl.handle.net/1807/35776- especially the final chapter.

Dr Mark Bennett has been a lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law since 2010. He had previously undertaken his undergraduate education in law, classics and sociology there, subsequently being appointed as an Assistant Lecturer, while also completing an LLM with Distinction. He was then awarded the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship to study for an LLM at Harvard Law School, after which he completed doctoral studies at the University of Toronto, supported by a Connaught Fellowship. His thesis 'Legal positivism and the Rule of Law: the Hartian Response to Fuller's Challenge' - available at http://hdl.handle.net/1807/35776 - examines the competing understandings of the idea of 'the rule of law' in contemporary legal philosophy. His recent publications include contributions to two books concerning regulatory reform in New Zealand, and articles on legal philosophy in Law and Philosophy, the Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, the Canadian Bar Review, and the Victoria University of Wellington Law Review (forthcoming). Some of these are available on his SSRN page - http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=682942.
His current research includes work towards book manuscript based on his doctoral thesis, and a project examining whether equity law should be understood, in many of its manifestations, as subverting justice and the rule of law.


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