Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date

1989

Center/Program

Center for Law and Philosophy

Abstract

We are all familiar with the peculiar feeling of coming across one's past objectified, as when one overhears others telling how they perceived a certain event in which one played the hero's role. Reading the contributions to this issue was a bit like that. In particular, it made me realise how I have abused the tolerant paper by writing all too much, while leaving so many hostages to fortune, so many loose ends, and expressing so many half-baked ideas. It is also embarrassing because it is like a summons to the confessional, to repent my sins of omission and commission, and to recant. I'll do a certain amount of that, while declining the invitation to undertake a thorough character reform.

I should probably be more repentant than I am. Given more time to cogitate, I would probably come to realise a greater need to modify my views than will be evident from this reply, for it is only a preliminary reaction to the many careful and thoughtful points made by the contributors to this symposium. At times my comments are tentative. At times I will overlook points which require careful considerations. In all cases I strove to see for this I take to be my responsibility whether the essential position I advanced in the past could be defended. But its defence requires recognition that some views I have put forward were more peripheral than others, and some were less well considered than others.

Happily, the criticism addressed at me tends to be concentrated around a number of central issues. I will try to focus my reply on the essential points raised by these criticisms. My reply is just that. I make no attempt to comment on the many rich ideas presented and suggestions made in the various articles, but merely respond to the criticism of my work within them.

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