Category Archives: Law

>Who really knows what justice is?

>Plato said that only philosophers know what justice is, and that as such philosophers should rule. Clearly this is far from the case today. But I’ve heard people espouse the same view (ironically people who dabble in philosophy…).

Is the fact that Plato’s view is seen as silly today a mark that it is wrong? Or is the fact that it’s still talked about, and promoted by the few, a mark that there is some logic in the idea? After all if philosophers don’t know what justice is then who does?

>Are there such things as "inalienable rights" & "self-evident truths"?

>An inalienable right is one that cannot be taken or given away from/by the possessor. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are supposedly such rights, as indicated by the US Declaration of Independence, which says:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This second sentence of the declaration also refers to “self-evident” truths. So a second question is can any truths be self-evident?

>What should the purpose of the criminal justice system be?


Justice systems are different all around the world. Our ideas about justice are also quite different. Some believe in ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, yet others believe we should forgive, forget and ‘turn the other cheek’.

It all comes down to what you think justice actually is and what it’s for. So what do you think? What’s the purpose of the criminal justice system? And is that right? What should it be?

>What role should the International Criminal Court play?


The ICC is a permanent tribunal set up to prosecute individuals for: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. It was created by the Rome Statute only 8 years ago. Yet despite the opposition of big powers like the US and China, it’s commonly seen as having been succesful to date. It has indicted people, inlcuding a serving President, in Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic and Kenya.

However, throughout its existence it has not had the power to excercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, and it is now being debated as to whether we should give the ICC that power. What do you think? Is it practical? Is it desirable? And should we be discussing giving or taking away even more power than just this?

>How old do you have to be before you become fully responsible under the law?

>There was a case this last week of two 10 year old boys being tried for rape in England. If such a case passes in England the children will have the charge on their records for the rest of their lives. The age for criminal responsibility is even lower in Scotland, at 8 years. Yet throughout much of the rest of Europe that age lies somewhere between 12 and 16.

Where do you think that age should be? And should children be treated differently under the law?

>Should prostitution be legalised?


You can see this as either the ancient question: “is prostitution a vice and are those involved evil or somehow lacking in judgment?”

Or you can see it in a more modern light: “is prostitution a form of exploitation to be abolished or an occupation that cannot be detroyed and therefore must be regulated?”

P.S. The map correlates to the existing legal status throughout Europe:

  • Green – Prostitution legal and regulated
  • Blue – Prostitution legal but organized procuring illegal
  • Red – Prostitution illegal
  • Grey – No data

>Is ‘freedom of speech’ a natural right?

>The last few years have seen the words “freedom of speech” bandied around as if it were the most common phrase in the world. People fall on both sides of the debate in every country around the world.

Yet some journalists claim that the majority of people don’t even understand what ‘freedom of speech’ means. A Canadian journalist (Marni Soupcoff) published an article today saying that the majority of Canadians just “don’t get” freedom of speech.

What does ‘freedom of speech’ mean to you and to what extent should it be supported?

>Arbotion: For or Against?

>The origin of the anti-abortion argument displayed in Catholic theology does not come from a desire to protect a life that is believed to already exist. In fact it originates from the Aristotelian philosophy that the true nature of something is in what it has the potential to be. For example the true nature of an acorn is that it will one day become an oak tree. Hence the true nature of a feotus is that it will one day become a person. Is this a valid argument or do you have a better one?

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