Aristotle on the Ideal State, Spooner on Jurisprudence

My working paper “Inside and Outside Spooner’s Natural Law Jurisprudence” is online; abstract follows:

Lysander Spooner, the foremost legal theorist of 19th century American radical liberalism, might seem to have defended two distinct and incompatible theories of the relation between liberal legal norms and positive law. In early works such as The Unconstitutionality of Slavery (1846), liberal legal norms appear to emerge from considerations immanent within the positive law; but in later works like Natural Law, or the Science of Justice (1882), liberal legal norms appear instead to function as an external constraint on the legitimacy, and indeed the legality, of positive statutes. I argue, drawing on earlier natural law tradition as well as on more recent analytic theories of language, and applying Spooner’s canons of interpretation to his own texts, that Spooner’s apparently distinct formulations yield a single consistent approach, a defensible and attractive radical liberal natural-law jurisprudence that transcends the internal/external distinction.

Comments welcome!

Also, I see that my 2004 article “Aristotle’s Egalitarian Utopia: The polis kat’ euchen” is now online in its entirety at Google Books, as a result of the relevant number of Acts of the Copenhagen Polis Centre’s being online in part.  It explores what Aristotle’s theory of natural slavery, his merit-based system of constitutional classification, and his account of the role of philosophic contemplation in the good life might have to tell us about the character of Aristotle’s ideal state.

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