Category: Selective Reading

Guilt, bad conscience and the like-Nietzsche-1887

That idea—”the wrong-doer deserves punishment because he might have acted otherwise,” in spite of the fact that it is nowadays so cheap, obvious, natural, and inevitable, and that it has had to serve as an illustration of the way in which the sentiment of justice appeared on earth, is in point of fact an exceedingly late, and even refined form of human judgment and inference; the placing of this idea back at the beginning of the world is simply a clumsy violation of the principles of primitive psychology.

State Of Germany Until The Barbarians

The most civilized nations of modern Europe issued from the woods of Germany; and in the rude institutions of those barbarians we may still distinguish the original principles of our present laws and manners. In their primitive state of simplicity and independence, the Germans were surveyed by the discerning eye, and delineated by the masterly pencil, of Tacitus, the first of historians who applied the science of philosophy to the study of facts.


The emergence of Islamic law outside the traditional sphere of family law was not confined to the struggle of the judiciary to contain martial law and military take-overs. Islamic law was also used in attempts to invalidate ordinary laws on the basis of an alleged repugnance to Islam.

Sense of Duty ought to be the sole Principle of our Conduct : Adam Smith

The common proverbial maxims of prudence, being founded in universal experience, are perhaps the best general rules which can be given about it. To affect, however, a very strict and literal adherence to them, would evidently be the most absurd and ridiculous pedantry. Of all the virtues I have just now mentioned, gratitude is that, perhaps, of which the rules are the most precise, and admit of the fewest exceptions.

Rights, Interests, and Values: Roscoe Pound 1958

Historically law in the second sense precedes these juristic concepts which we reach by analysis and postulate as the logical bases of legal precepts. The logical sequence is interest, right, duty, action, remedy. In order to secure the interest recognized and delimited by the law, it confers a legal right, secured by imposing a corresponding duty.

The Generation of “Public Bad”

Drinking camel urine

Failure to produce “public bad” is equivalent to the creation of “public good.” And the failure to provide “public good” is equivalent to the production of “public bad.” The choice between constructions here depends largely on the purpose to be served by analysis and on the relevance to real-world problems. If, as in traditional public-goods theory, the purpose is to explain why market institutions fail and why governmental action may be necessary, attention should be paid to the “public good” that collective action might generate.

The origin of the Gospels has proved a Serbonian Bog


The origin of the Gospels has proved a Serbonian bog, in which many writers who have attempted an explanation have floundered without finding solid ground. Scarcely two writers agree. Why should there be any doubt in a matter of so much importance, where the evidence could so readily be obtained at the time they were written, and so safely guarded and preserved?