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Brigham Young University

Convention

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Pareto Optimality And The Rule Of Law, Noel B. Reynolds Aug 1998

Pareto Optimality And The Rule Of Law, Noel B. Reynolds

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In 1959, James M. Buchanan criticized the collectivist misuse of Pareto optimality by the "new welfare economists" and made a first attempt to extend that individualist concept into the political realm. Over the following three decades he further developed his political application of Pareto’s insight to buttress an essentially economic analysis of political exchange that would justify the processes of constitutional democracy in the same way Pareto efficiency justifies free markets. In this paper I will explain why Buchanan’s particular formulations will not work and propose a more comprehensive solution that accomplishes Buchanan’s announced purpose. I will ...


Thomas Hobbes's "A Discourse Of Laws", Noel B. Reynolds Sep 1994

Thomas Hobbes's "A Discourse Of Laws", Noel B. Reynolds

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The recent discovery that an anonymously published 1620 essay was an early writing of Thomas Hobbes invites investigation of his early thinking. Hobbes relied on mostly classical sources to advance a basically conventionalist theory of law and to anticipate twentieth century analyses of the principles of rule of law such as that made famous by F. A. Hayek.


Conventionalism And Contractarianism, Noel B. Reynolds Nov 1992

Conventionalism And Contractarianism, Noel B. Reynolds

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In this paper Noel B. Reynolds’s theory of law as convention is compared to the public choice contractarian theory of James M. Buchanan. While there are numerous similarities, major differences emerge. Only conventionalism can produce legal and political authority and norms to guide the use of that authority in maintaining the rule of law. The concept of constructive unanimity is introduced to overcome the ultimate failure of contractarianism to legitimate the authority of law.


The Separation Of Law And Morals, Noel B. Reynolds Nov 1986

The Separation Of Law And Morals, Noel B. Reynolds

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The classic opposition of legal positivism and natural law theory resurfaces continually and reminds us that we have yet to resolve this key conflict in our ways of understanding the moral authority of law. The strengths and weaknesses of the two theories are reviewed—both have fatal flaws. Conventionalism is proposed as a means of finding internal standards in a man-made system of law. The naturally emerging standards for a conventionalist system of law turn out to be the already familiar principles of the rule of law.


Hume And His Critics: Reid And Kames, Noel B. Reynolds May 1986

Hume And His Critics: Reid And Kames, Noel B. Reynolds

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This presentation was in response to Kenneth MacKinnon’s defense of Thomas Reid’s preference for natural virtue against David Hume’s conventionalism in his theory of law. It is argued that because Hume’s legal theory follows easily from his theory of human nature, Reid and Kames—and MacKinnon—need to refute Hume at that level to be successful in their rejection of his conventionalism.