Participant, Conference on Law and the Culture of Liberty, James Madison Program (May 18-19, 2015)

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This Robert J. Giuffra ’82 Conference was co-sponsored by The Association for the Study of Free Institutions, Texas Tech University and the Bouton Law Lecture Fund:

‘What is the relationship among law, culture, and human freedom? Is freedom to be found primarily where law is kept to a minimum and culture is therefore mostly the spontaneous reflection of the choices of largely autonomous individuals? Or does true freedom require law to provide a kind of moral discipline, a habituation in the virtues, with a view to promoting a culture in which freedom is directed toward the ourishing of our nature, and not just toward whatever may appear desirable to the individual? To what extent can law shape culture in this way, and to what extent is it rather shaped by a culture that already exists?

In order to foster re ection on these issues, the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and the Association for the Study of Free Institutions are pleased to announce a conference entitled “Law and the Culture of Liberty.” The program includes scholars from a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. We seek to address a number of questions. What is the proper relationship between law and liberty in the natural-law jurisprudence of John Finnis and his colleagues? To what extent does our ourishing according to nature require freedom from legal constraint, and to what extent does it require the discipline of legal sanctions? How does contemporary American popular culture shape our understanding of law and liberty? Is pop culture a powerful force for freedom, or does it undermine the virtues of character and mind necessary for the preservation of the free society? What is the role of marriage in fostering a culture of liberty? To what extent does a healthy marriage culture require the support of law? What is the role of freedom of thought and speech in maintaining a free and decent culture? Should law permit an untrammeled right of self-expression, or must it rather set limits on what may be said in order to protect civility and other important social values? Most fundamentally, can we attain rational knowledge of the true character of law, of culture, and of liberty, and of their proper relation to one another?’

For source, and conference schedule, see:

http://web.princeton.edu/sites/jmadison/calendar/documents/Program%202015%20051819%20May%20Conf.pdf.

About the James Madison Program:

‘Founded in the summer of 2000, the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in the Department of Politics at Princeton University is dedicated to exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political thought. The Program is also devoted to examining the application of basic legal and ethical principles to contemporary problems. To realize its mission, the James Madison Program implements a number of initiatives. The Program awards visiting fellowships and postdoctoral appointments each year to support scholars conducting research in the elds of constitutional law and political thought. The Program supports the James Madison Society, an international community of scholars, and promotes civic education by its sponsorship of conferences, lectures, seminars, and colloquia. The Program’s Undergraduate Fellows Forum provides opportunities for Princeton undergraduates to interact with Madison Program Fellows and speakers. The success of the James Madison Program depends on the support of foundations and private individuals who share its commitment in advancing the understanding and appreciation of American ideals and institutions.’

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