ERIC Number: ED199802
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Absolutism and Natural Law Argument: William O. Douglas on Freedom of Expression.
Rodgers, Raymond S.
Noting that United States Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas has often been characterized as an "absolutist" in terms of First Amendment policy, this paper argues that, in fact, Douglas's policy positions provided for less than absolute freedom to communicate. The paper then reveals, through an anlaysis of 18 of Douglas's opinions, an absolutism of a different sort: the reliance on "absolute philosophies and immutable canons," not so much for policy statements "per se," as for rhetorical means to generalized policy orientations. Based on this analysis, the paper offers evidence for the existence of a rhetorical genre, "argument from ideal," founded upon tenets of natural law philosophy. Various sections of the paper discuss (1) natural law theory, (2) argument from ideal, (3) the "Thomist" subspecies of argument from ideal, and (4) the "natural rights" subspecies of argument from ideal. (FL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A