Raquel Barradas de Freitas was awarded a DPhil in Law by the University of Oxford in 2014, with a dissertation titled ‘Explaining Meaning: Towards a Minimalist Account of Legal Interpretation’, supervised by Professor John Gardner.
She teaches Jurisprudence and European Union Law at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Raquel’s primary research interests are in general jurisprudence with a focus on interpretation, reasoning (practical and theoretical) and reasons, authority, rules and norms, judicial decision making and, in particular, the justification of judicial decisions.
She is also interested in the philosophical foundations of criminal law and constitutional theory. Her work on interpretation has, for a period of time, extended to the philosophy of art and, more specifically, the philosophy of music: she devoted two chapters of her doctoral dissertation to a study of interpretation of works of abstract music and the nature of musical meaning.
As a Max Weber Fellow, Raquel will be working on the connections between authority and trust. She is interested in the epistemic, psychological, moral, interpersonal, and political dimensions of trust and trustworthiness. She investigates the link between warranted trust and moral autonomy, as well as connections between authority (practical and theoretical) and trust. She looks closely at conditions for warranted trust in legal officials in the context of judicial decision making, and links them with questions of judicial accountability, and a judicial duty to interpret and to justify decisions. One aim, in this project, is to flesh out what reasons, if any, we may have for trusting legal officials and political institutions, and what such reasons tell us about their claim to authority over us.