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Occasional Talks Abstracts 2017-18

The Max Weber Occasional Talks are informal seminars by distinguished scholars invited by members of the Programme as the academic year develops.


Andrea Sangiovanni (King's College London)


‘When and Why is Freedom of Movement Worth Defending?’

Jointly with the Legal and Political Philosophy Working Group

22 November 2017, 17:00-18:30

Badia, Emeroteca


We often hear that the free movement of persons in the EU is ‘non-negotiable’, a ‘foundational pillar of the European project’. But why? I will consider some common answers to this question and point out some difficulties they face. I will then argue that the free movement of persons is best understood as a demand of justice and, indeed, of solidarity among member state peoples. 

Timothy Endicott (University of Oxford)



'Interpretation and homonymous activities'

14 December 2017, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Emeroteca 





Interpretation is a process of reasoning to support an answer to a question as to the meaning of some object. 

How, then, can we explain the modern practice of lawyers and judges, who sometimes offer something that they call an ‘interpretation’ in support of a conclusion that is incompatible with the meaning of the object that they purport to interpret?

In such a case, whether the interpreter is (1) aiming to help the lawmaker to achieve the lawmaker’s real purpose, or (2) opposing the policy of the lawmaker, it would be accurate to describe what they are doing as reasoning to support a departure from the act of the lawmaker.

But I will argue that the common modern practice of calling such reasoning processes ‘interpretation’ is not necessarily deceitful or misconceived. It is to be understood by the analogies between such reasoning processes, and the core instances of interpretation. That is, the word ‘interpretation’ is used analogically, or homonymously.

The implication, which I will address, is that the word ‘meaning’ is, likewise, homonymous.

About the Speaker

Timothy Endicott has been Professor of Legal Philosophy since 2006, and a Fellow in Law at Balliol College since 1999. Professor Endicott writes on Jurisprudence and Constitutional and Administrative Law, with special interests in law and language and interpretation. He served as the Dean of the Faculty of Law for two terms, from October 2007 to September 2015. 

He is the author of Vagueness in Law (OUP 2000), and Administrative Law, 3rd ed (OUP 2015).

After graduating with the AB in Classics and English, summa cum laude, from Harvard, he completed the MPhil in Comparative Philology in Oxford, studied Law at the University of Toronto, and practised as a litigation lawyer in Toronto. He completed the DPhil in Law in Oxford in 1998. He was appointed by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid to a Cátedra de Excelencia during 2016.

Ugo Mattei (UC Hastings)


From commons to capital and back.
The turning point in private law


Chair: Marta Morvillo (MWF-LAW)

3 May 2018, 17:00-18:30; Baia, Emeroteca



This lecture will discuss the necessary steps to transform the role and the function of private law in order to put in tune with the requirements of ecological survival.

About the speaker

Ugo Mattei is the Alfred and Hanna Fromm Distinguished Professor at U C Hastings in San Francisco, a full professor of civil law at the university of Turin and the Academic Coordinator of the International University College of Turin. He has been General Editor of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies since 2015.

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8 June 2018, 17:30

Kenneth Armstrong
(University of Cambridge) 

'Brexit and “Constitutional Requirements”: What Happens When an Under-Constitutionalised State Leaves an Over-Constitutionalised EU?'


About the speaker: 
Kenneth Armstrong is Professor of European Law and Director of the Cambridge Centre of European Legal Studies at the University of Cambridge. Before joining the Faculty of Law of the University of Cambridge, Kenneth was Professor of EU law at Queen Mary, University of London. He has also held positions at Keele University and the University of Manchester. He has held visiting positions at Edinburgh University, the European University Institute and at New York University School of Law. He is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College.

He is editor in chief of the Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies.

Kenneth has written extensively in the field of European Union law and policy, with a particular focus on the evolving governance and institutional structures of the EU. His book Governing Social Inclusion: Europeanization through Policy Coordination was published by Oxford University Press in 2010 and won the 2011 UACES Best Book Prize. His new book called Brexit Time: Leaving the EU - Why, How and When? is published by Cambridge University Press. He writes a blog at brexittime.com. 

Kenneth has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to analyse the dynamics of regulatory alignment and divergence after Brexit. The project will run from 2018-21.

Moyn 1

 11 June 2018, 17:00-18:30

Samuel Moyn
(Yale Law School)
'National Welfare and International Human Rights' 

Badia, Emeroteca



This talk will take up the transition in the history of political economy from national welfare states to neoliberal globalization, and how international human rights law relates to both.

About the Speaker

Samuel Moyn is professor of law and professor of history at Yale University. 

He received a doctorate in modern European history from the University of California-Berkeley in 2000 and a law degree from Harvard University in 2001. He spent thirteen years in the Columbia University history department, where he was most recently James Bryce Professor of European Legal History, and three at Harvard University, where he was Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor in the law school as well as professor in the department of history. 

He has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history and human rights history, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Harvard University Press, 2010), and edited or coedited a number of others. His most recent book, based on Mellon Distinguished Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014, is Christian Human Rights (2015). His new book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in April 2018.

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Page last updated on 09 January 2020

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