Original Intent and the Constitution: A Philosophical Study

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This book is the first full-length study by a professional philosopher of one of the most important constitutional controversies of our time: whether courts, in deciding constitutional cases, must adhere to the 'original intent' of the framers.

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Overview

This book is the first full-length study by a professional philosopher of one of the most important constitutional controversies of our time: whether courts, in deciding constitutional cases, must adhere to the 'original intent' of the framers.

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Editorial Reviews

The Review of Politics
. . . [Bassham's] detailed examination of originalism will enlighten both its proponents and its opponents.
Southeastern Political Review
Bassham has written an important book, made even better by the fact that each chapter has well over a hundred footnotes. It is a well-documented, intelligent book which argues that original intent is a flawed concept and cannot be used in a rigid fashion.
F. E. Devine
The strength of this work is its illuminating analysis of the varieties of original intent theory, and the problems...of some of them.
The Review Of Politics
. . . [Bassham's] detailed examination of originalism will enlighten both its proponents and its opponents.
Michael J. Perry
...an original and sophisticated philosophical discussion of central issues in contemporary constitutional theory. It is required reading for anyone who wants to probe the debates between 'originalists' and 'nonoriginalists'-or the debates between those who find the originalism/nonoriginalism distinction useful and those who do not.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gregory Bassham is associate professor of philosophy at King's College. His articles have appeared in Analysis and the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Historical Introduction to the Current Debate 1
2 The Nature and Varieties of Originalism 17
3 The Most Defensible Form of Originalism 39
4 Three Misconceived Objections to Originalism 67
5 The Case Against Originalism 91
6 Back to Cardozo 109
Notes 129
Selected Bibliography 215
Index 223
About the Author 229
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