Law and the Culture of Liberty

The Annual Robert J. Giuffra '82 Conference

May 18, 2015
2015 Giuffra conference poster

Keynote Address by John M. FinnisBiolchini Family Professor of Law, Law School of the University of Notre Dame; Professor Emeritus of Law and Legal Philosophy, Oxford University

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 flourishing 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 reflection 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 flourishing 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?

Presentation of the 2015 James Q. Wilson Award for Distinguished Scholarship on the Nature of a Free Society to John Finnis, on behalf of the Association for the Study of Free Institutions 

Presenter: Robert P. George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence; Director, James Madison Program, Princeton University 
Keynote Speaker: John Finnis Biolchini Family Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame; Professor Emeritus of Law and Legal Philosophy, University of Oxford 

Natural Law, Law, and Liberty 

Gerard V. Bradley Professor of Law, University of Notre
Samuel Gregg Director of Research, Acton Institute
Daniel Mark Assistant Professor of Political Science, Villanova University 
Chair: James R. Stoner, Jr. Professor of Political Science, Louisiana State University 

Popular Culture and the Culture of Liberty 

Mark Bauerlein Professor of English, Emory University
Martha Bayles Visiting Associate Professor of the Practice of the Humanities, Boston College
Charles T. Rubin Garwood Visiting Fellow, James Madison Program, Princeton University; Associate Professor of Political Science, Duquesne University 
Chair: Carson Holloway Visiting Fellow in American Political Thought, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, The Heritage Foundation; Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska at Omaha 

Marriage and the Culture of Liberty 

Ryan T. Anderson William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society, The Heritage Foundation
Melissa Moschella Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America
W. Bradford Wilcox Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia 
Chair: Christopher Kaczor William E. Simon Visiting Fellow, James Madison Program, Princeton University; Professor of Philosophy, Loyola Marymount University 

Freedom of Thought and Speech 

James W. Ceaser Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics, University of Virginia
Michael P. Moreland Vice Dean and Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
Christopher Tollefsen Professor of Philosophy, University of South Carolina
Chair: Jesse D. Covington William E. Simon Visiting Fellow, James Madison Program, Princeton University; Associate Professor of Political Science, Westmont College 

Roundtable on Law, Liberty, and Culture in the Thought of John Finnis 

Joseph M. Boyle Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto
Richard Ekins Associate Professor of Law, University of Oxford
Sherif Girgis Princeton University and Yale Law School
Grégoire C. N. Webber Canada Research Chair in Public Law and Philosophy of Law, Queen’s University (Canada)
John Finnis Biolchini Family Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame; Professor Emeritus of Law and Legal Philosophy, University of Oxford
Chair: Robert P. George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence; Director, James Madison Program, Princeton University 

Video:

Keynote Address by John Finnis

Natural Law, Law, and Liberty

Popular Culture and the Culture of Liberty

Marriage and the Culture of Liberty

Freedom of Thought and Speech

Roundtable on Law, Liberty, and Culture in the Thought of John Finnis

Location:

Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall

Cosponsored by:

  • The Association for the Study of Free Institutions, Texas Tech University

Funded by:

The Bouton Law Lecture Fund

Photo Album:

  • George and Finnis
  • Holloway
  • Finnis