SPAH Seminar Series Week 33: Dr David McNeill

Extraordinary Common Meaning and Constitutional Legitimacy

  • Thu 19 May 22

    15:00 - 17:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Dr David McNeill

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    SPAH Seminar Series 2021-22

  • Event organiser

    Philosophy and Art History, School of

  • Contact details

    Abby Connell

Part of the SPAH Seminar Series, Dr David McNeill gives a talk on 'Extraordinary Common Meaning and Constitutional Legitimacy'.

My talk argues for a broadly anti-positivist approach to the nature of constitutional law.  Like recent efforts to articulate a “common good constitutionalism,” I maintain that our current crises in democratic constitutional legitimacy demand a return to the question “what is law for?” Unlike those efforts, I argue that we must also return to the question of the relation between a constitutional order and the political community that constitutes itself as a people through that political order. Rather than grounding law in universal moral principles, it seeks to ground law in our capacity to collectively determine a common good.

About the speaker:
Dr. David McNeill is a former member of academic staff at SPAH.  A scholar of the history of European philosophy, his work focuses on the relation between practical and theoretical reason, with a particular emphasis on deliberative inquiry. While his previous work on Plato, Aristotle and Sophocles considered the role the concept of law (nomos) plays in individual and communal practical deliberation, political developments in the US have inspired a turn to questions more narrowly within the philosophy of law and contemporary legal theory. 

To attend, please email spahpg@essex.ac.uk for the Zoom link. The seminar will also be streamed in the Lakeview Meeting Room (SSC.2.15) for those wishing to attend on campus.

Related events