David Luban

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Modern human rights instruments ground human rights in the concept of human dignity, without providing an underlying theory of human dignity. This paper examines the central importance of human dignity, understood as not humiliating people, in traditional Jewish ethics. It employs this conception of human dignity to examine and criticize U.S. use of(More)
[M]ost prisoners walk into prison because they know they will be dragged or beaten into prison if they do not walk. They do not organize force against being dragged because they know that if they wage this kind of battle they will lose—very possibly lose their lives. The experience of the prisoner is, from the outset, an experience of being violently(More)
In response to the crimes of September 11, the U.S. has declared a War on Terrorism. By selectively combining elements of law with elements of war, Washington is able to maximize its ability to mobilize lethal force against terrorists and combat the risks they pose. But the new hybrid of war and law eliminates most traditional rights of military adversaries(More)
Many authors, I suspect, share my perception that they do not know their own book until they see the responses it provokes. Only then does it become clear what themes in the book matter, what is controversial, and, of course, what is mistaken, confusing, or self-contradictory. For that reason, I am particularly grateful for the careful readings and(More)
As a law student with some background in moral philosophy and applied ethics, naturally I was drawn to thinking about the big ethical questions facing lawyers. “Read Lawyers and Justice, by David Luban,”1 my legal ethics seminar professor suggested. I did, and I was immediately hooked. Lawyers and Justice was a powerfully argued, elegant, and persuasive(More)
This essay develops a contractarian response to Jeff McMahan’s critique of the traditional war convention. Contractarianism asserts, first, that an outcome in which the current war convention is accepted is better for all relevant parties than any other feasible outcome; second, that the war convention is fair; third, that soldiers accept the existing(More)