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Title: Natural justice : the development of a critical philosophy of law from David Hume and Adam Smith to John Millar and John Craig
Author: Haakonssen, Knud
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1978
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The thesis is that Hume and Smith between them outline a new theory of justice as the foundation for all social and political life. Justice is a mode of assessing social and political behaviour, the central point of which is that the motives behind such behaviour must not have an injurious tendency which would arouse the resentment of an impartial spectator. This means that they must be in accordance with a general rule which is negative, telling people what not to do, and which thus ensures that the behaviour which is allowed as just is as widely compatible as possible with the rest of the values and aims accepted at any given time by a society. The latter can only be understood as they have developed through the interaction of individual men; and jurisprudence as a critical discipline is, therefore, dependent upon history and the new "science of human nature". Justice is dealt with in the context of the general moral philosophy of the four authors, and it is shown how it stands apart as a negative virtue, the rules of which are enforcible for negative utilitarian reasons. In connection with Smith and Millar a major objection to the present interpretation is cleared away by showing that their view of history was not economic and deterministic but of such a nature that it allows scope for natural justice. Finally, it is shown how Craig changes the doctrine by discarding the theoretical role of history. This contributes to the breaking up of the tradition and points towards the new developments in political thinking in the 19th Century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available