American legal thought from premodernism to postmodernism : by Stephen M. Feldman

By Stephen M. Feldman

American criminal proposal has advanced remarkably fast from premodernism to modernism and into postmodernism in little over two hundred years. this article tells the tale of this mercurial trip of jurisprudence by way of displaying the improvement of felony idea via those 3 highbrow periods.

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In fact, Locke was perhaps the first theorist to focus explicitly on a concept of personal identity. ” Contrary to Hobbes’s conception of humans in the state of nature as base and greedy creatures, Locke envisioned such individuals as rational and respectful of others. And, of course, political society was legitimate only if individuals freely consented to its formation through a social contract. 40 This growing individualism of modernist philosophy intertwined with the development of economic capitalism.

But no sooner would one modernist philosopher sincerely invoke some epistemological foundation, such as abstract reason, than another philosopher would skeptically doubt its adequacy for firmly grounding knowledge. Modernists persistently sought foundations, but they simultaneously remained tenaciously suspicious of all such proposed foundations. Consequently, the typical modernist attitude was (and is) anxiety. 38 During the second stage of modernism—which I call empiricism—the focus shifted from the reasoning self to the external world as the source of truth.

More specifically, he argued that all of our ideas arise from either sensation or reflection: that is, sensations of physical objects in the external world, or reflections on the operations of our own minds. Most important, then, our ideas of the “primary qualities” of objects, according to Locke, resemble or mirror the actual objects. 39 At this stage, reason continued to perform significant functions even if it no longer remained the source of first premises and foundational knowledge. Reason could provide valuable insights about the world and could facilitate the performance of certain tasks—once empirical studies had first provided the foundational premises, the knowledge, that could adequately ground the subsequent rational processes.

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