In Search of Conservatism
16 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2019
This essay was written as a comment on a paper by Professor Robert Nagel, entitled “Conservatism and Constitutionalism in the United States”: both the paper and the comment were delivered at a conference at the University of Lisbon in June 2018. After considering and criticizing various candidates for a conservative constitutional jurisprudence, Nagel concludes by suggesting that the essence of judicial conservatism lies in a traditionalism that acknowledges that reason can only operate from within experience rather than as a more detached examination of experience. This comment questions Nagel’s conclusion, suggests that conservatism would need to have a more ethical and ontological dimension, and offers a distinction between “believing traditionalists” and “skeptical traditionalists” who may converge in their practical values and prescriptions even though they differ fundamentally on a more philosophical level.
Keywords: conservatism, constitutional jurisprudence
JEL Classification: A10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation