Matthew Kramer

Last updated

Matthew H. Kramer
Born (1959-06-09) 9 June 1959 (age 59)
United States
Nationality American
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Moral realism, legal positivism, analytic tradition
Institutions Cambridge University
Harvard University
Cornell University
Main interests
Metaethics, normative ethics, legal philosophy, political philosophy

Matthew Henry Kramer FBA (born 9 June 1959) [1] is an American philosopher, currently Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy at the University of Cambridge [2] and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. [3] He writes mainly in the areas of metaethics, normative ethics, legal philosophy, and political philosophy. He is a leading proponent of legal positivism. He has been Director of the Cambridge Forum for Legal and Political Philosophy since 2000. He has been teaching at Cambridge University and at Churchill College since 1994.

Fellow of the British Academy award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship

  1. Fellows, for scholars resident in the United Kingdom
  2. Corresponding Fellows, for scholars not resident in the UK
  3. Honorary Fellows, an honorary academic title
University of Cambridge University in Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Churchill College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Churchill College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It has a primary focus on science, engineering and technology, but still retains a strong interest in the arts and humanities.

Contents

Career

Kramer was born in Massachusetts and educated at Middleborough High School, Cornell University (B.A. in Philosophy) where he became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Harvard University (J.D.) and Cambridge University (Ph.D. in Philosophy and LL.D.).

Cornell University private university in Ithaca (New York, US)

Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a popular 1868 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

His sixteen books as author and four as editor, as well as his dozens of journal articles, range over many areas of legal, political and moral philosophy. He has received several major research awards including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2001) and a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2005). He is a subject editor for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy and is on the editorial board of the Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, the American Journal of Jurisprudence, Law & Philosophy, Ratio Juris, and Legal Theory. He is also an Advisory Editor for the University of Bologna Law Review (general student-edited law journal). [4]

Jurisprudence theoretical study of law, by philosophers and social scientists

Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law, principally by philosophers but, from the twentieth century, also by social scientists. Scholars of jurisprudence, also known as jurists or legal theorists, hope to obtain a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.

At the undergraduate level he lectures and supervises in Jurisprudence, and he also lectures on Topics in Legal & Political Philosophy in the postgraduate LL.M. program. At Cambridge, he is a graduate supervisor both for Ph.D. students in the Law Faculty and for M.Phil. and Ph.D. students in the Philosophy Faculty.

He was a visiting professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in April 2009, and at Tel Aviv University in March 2012.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israeli University in Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's second oldest university, established in 1918, 30 years before the establishment of the State of Israel. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J. Safra Givat Ram campus.

Tel Aviv University public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv University (TAU) is a public research university in Tel Aviv, Israel. With over 30,000 students, the University is the largest in the country. Located in northwest Tel Aviv, the University is the center of teaching and research of the city, comprising 9 faculties, 17 teaching hospitals, 18 performing arts centers, 27 schools, 106 departments, 340 research centers, and 400 laboratories.

In 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences. [5]

A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and ?55approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research activ/ities and standards for academic disciplines, most frequently in the sciences but also the humanities. Typically 6the country's learned societies in individual disciplines will liaise with or be co-ordinated by the national academy. National academies play an important organizational role in academic exchanges and collaborations between countries.

An inclusive legal positivist, Kramer argues in his book Where Law and Morality Meet that moral principles can enter into the law of any jurisdiction. He contends that legal officials can invoke moral principles as laws for resolving disputes, and that they can also invoke them as threshold tests which ordinary laws must satisfy. In opposition to many other theorists, Kramer argues that these functions of moral principles are consistent with all the essential characteristics of any legal system. He is also a leading proponent of the legal positivist argument that law and morality are separable, arguing against the position of natural-law theory, which portrays legal requirements as a species of moral requirements. According to him, even though the existence of a legal system in any sizeable society is essential for the realization of fundamental moral values, law is not inherently moral either in its effects or in its motivational underpinnings.

Moral realism as a moral doctrine

Influenced by the theories of Ronald Dworkin, Kramer is a moral realist who argues that "moral requirements are strongly objective" and that "the objectivity of ethics is itself an ethical matter that rests primarily on ethical considerations." In his book Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine, he thus claims that "[m]oral realism - the doctrine that morality is indeed objective - is a moral doctrine." Unlike Dworkin, he believes that, although there is a determinately correct moral answer to most moral questions, there exists genuine moral indeterminacy in relation to some rare moral questions. He also distances himself from Dworkin's defense of value monism.

Publications

Books

Related Research Articles

The argument from morality is an argument for the existence of God. Arguments from morality tend to be based on moral normativity or moral order. Arguments from moral normativity observe some aspect of morality and argue that God is the best or only explanation for this, concluding that God must exist. Arguments from moral order are based on the asserted need for moral order to exist in the universe. They claim that, for this moral order to exist, God must exist to support it. The argument from morality is noteworthy in that one cannot evaluate the soundness of the argument without attending to almost every important philosophical issue in meta-ethics.

Philosophy of law branch of philosophy and fundamental discipline of law

Philosophy of law is a branch of philosophy and jurisprudence that seeks to answer basic questions about law and legal systems, such as "What is law?", "What are the criteria for legal validity?", "What is the relationship between law and morality?", and many other similar questions.

Moral realism is the position that ethical sentences express propositions that refer to objective features of the world, some of which may be true to the extent that they report those features accurately. This makes moral realism a non-nihilist form of ethical cognitivism with an ontological orientation, standing in opposition to all forms of moral anti-realism and moral skepticism, including ethical subjectivism, error theory ; and non-cognitivism. Within moral realism, the two main subdivisions are ethical naturalism and ethical non-naturalism.

Analytic philosophy style of philosophy

Analytic philosophy is a style of philosophy that became dominant in the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century. The term can refer to one of several things:

Moral skepticism is a class of metaethical theories all members of which entail that no one has any moral knowledge. Many moral skeptics also make the stronger, modal claim that moral knowledge is impossible. Moral skepticism is particularly opposed to moral realism: the view that there are knowable and objective moral truths.

Legal positivism is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence largely developed by legal thinkers in the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. While Bentham and Austin developed legal positivist theory, empiricism set the theoretical foundations for such developments to occur. The most prominent legal positivist writer in English has been H. L. A. Hart, who, in 1958, found common usages of "positivism" as applied to law to include the contentions that:

The indeterminacy debate in legal theory can be summed up as follows: Can the law constrain the results reached by adjudicators in legal disputes? Some members of the critical legal studies movement — primarily legal academics in the United States — argued that the answer to this question is "no." Another way to state this position is to suggest that disputes cannot be resolved with clear answers and thus there is at least some amount of uncertainty in legal reasoning and its application to disputes. A given body of legal doctrine is said to be "indeterminate" by demonstrating that every legal rule in that body of legal doctrine is opposed by a counterrule that can be used in a process of legal reasoning.

Ronald Dworkin American legal philosopher

Ronald Myles Dworkin, FBA was an American philosopher, jurist, and scholar of United States constitutional law. At the time of his death, he was Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University and Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London. Dworkin had taught previously at Yale Law School and the University of Oxford, where he was the Professor of Jurisprudence, successor to renowned philosopher H. L. A. Hart. An influential contributor to both philosophy of law and political philosophy, Dworkin received the 2007 Holberg International Memorial Prize in the Humanities for "his pioneering scholarly work" of "worldwide impact." According to a survey in The Journal of Legal Studies, Dworkin was the second most-cited American legal scholar of the twentieth century. After his death, the Harvard legal scholar Cass Sunstein said Dworkin was "one of the most important legal philosophers of the last 100 years. He may well head the list."

H. L. A. Hart 1907–1992; British legal philosopher

Herbert Lionel Adolphus Hart, FBA, usually cited as H. L. A. Hart, was a British legal philosopher, and a major figure in political and legal philosophy. He was Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University and the Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. His most famous work is The Concept of Law, which has been hailed as "the most important work of legal philosophy written in the twentieth century". He is considered one of the world's foremost legal philosophers in the twentieth century, alongside Hans Kelsen.

Lon Luvois Fuller was a noted legal philosopher, who criticized legal positivism and defended a secular and procedural form of natural law theory. Fuller was a professor of Law at Harvard University for many years, and is noted in American law for his contributions to both jurisprudence and the law of contracts. His debate in 1958 with the prominent British legal philosopher H. L. A. Hart in the Harvard Law Review was important in framing the modern conflict between legal positivism and natural law theory. In his widely discussed 1964 book, The Morality of Law, Fuller argues that all systems of law contain an "internal morality" that imposes on individuals a presumptive obligation of obedience. Robert S. Summers said in 1984: "Fuller was one of the four most important American legal theorists of the last hundred years".

Moral nihilism is the meta-ethical view that nothing is morally right or wrong.

The philosophy of social science is the study of the logic, methods, and foundations of social sciences such as psychology, economics, and political science. Philosophers of social science are concerned with the differences and similarities between the social and the natural sciences, causal relationships between social phenomena, the possible existence of social laws, and the ontological significance of structure and agency.

Positivism philosophy of science based on the view that information derived from scientific observation is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge

Positivism is a philosophical theory stating that certain ("positive") knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations. Thus, information derived from sensory experience, interpreted through reason and logic, forms the exclusive source of all certain knowledge. Positivism holds that valid knowledge is found only in this a posteriori knowledge.

Larry Laudan is a contemporary American philosopher of science and epistemologist. He has strongly criticized the traditions of positivism, realism, and relativism, and he has defended a view of science as a privileged and progressive institution against popular challenges. Laudan's philosophical view of "research traditions" is seen as an important alternative to Imre Lakatos's "research programs."

Sittlichkeit is the concept of "ethical life" or "ethical order" furthered by philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in his 1807 work Phenomenology of Spirit and his 1820/21 work Elements of the Philosophy of Right (PR).

Gerald Dworkin is a professor of moral, political and legal philosophy. He is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of California, Davis. In 2016–17 he is the Brady Distinguished Visiting Professor of Ethics and Civic Life at Northwestern University. He has written for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Objectivity is a philosophical concept of being true independently from individual subjectivity caused by perception, emotions, or imagination. A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject. Scientific objectivity refers to the ability to judge without partiality or external influence, sometimes used synonymously with neutrality.

American philosophy

American philosophy is the activity, corpus, and tradition of philosophers affiliated with the United States. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that while it lacks a "core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and shaping collective American identity over the history of the nation."

Professor David Simon Oderberg is an Australian philosopher of metaphysics and ethics based in Britain since 1987. He is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading. He describes himself as a non-consequentialist or a traditionalist in his works. Broadly speaking, Oderberg places himself in opposition to Peter Singer and other utilitarian or consequentialist thinkers. He has published over thirty academic papers and has authored four books, Real Essentialism, Applied Ethics, Moral Theory, and The Metaphysics of Identity over Time. Professor Oderberg is an alumnus of the Universities of Melbourne, where he completed his first degrees, and Oxford where he gained his D.Phil.

References

  1. KRAMER, Prof. Matthew Henry, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014
  2. Cambridge Faculty of Law
  3. Churchill College
  4. "Advisory Board". Bolognalawreview.unibo.it. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  5. "British Academy announces 42 new fellows". Times Higher Education. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.