Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Theistic Metaphysics"?

Justice Scalia has reviewed a new book from the Harvard University Press on Philosophy and the Law.

He is in fine form... check out particularly the last bit. Is law possible without God to furnish right and wrong?

The author of this tome seems to be seriously pondering the bon mot of Voltaire:

Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer. (If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.)


Charles Iragui said...

J. Li,


On this:

I will merely say: Vive la France!

Sarah Kohrs said...

For a fabulous account on this issue see A.A. Leff, Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law, 1979 Duke L.J. 1229. Unfortunately, it's rather hard to find. But worth the dig.

Charles, I know you're loving the fact that Scalia elevates textualism (whatever that means!) above all the other "jurisprudences." As for me, I say, three cheers for the brooding omnipresence in the sky! Every text must have an author. . .

Charles Iragui said...


I don't think that Scalia is "elevating textualism" in this article. He is instead relegating judges in our system of a federal constitution to the same irrelevance as judges in Civil Law countries: they should not be law-makers, but mere law bureacrats. Textualism here is simply a recognition that words can have meanings and that it is not the role of a judge to "fill in the gaps". Legislators make the law, which he is acknowledging here is a "brooding omnipresence". As a devout Catholic, how could he think otherwise?

I think this further elucidates why Scalia advocates "fainthearted originalism": he wants FEDERAL judges to do much less.