Legal philosophy partnership brings together leaders in the field

York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the departments of philosophy at York and McMaster University have recently joined forces to facilitate academic collaborations in the field of legal philosophy.

The Ontario Legal Philosophy Partnership (OLPP), which celebrates its founding with a launch reception on Friday, May 13 in the Great Hall of McMaster’s University Club, is the brainchild of three internationally recognized legal philosophy professors who will be the partnership’s administrators. François Tanguay-Renaud (Osgoode); Michael Giudice (York Philosophy); and Wil Waluchow (McMaster Philosophy and the Senator William McMaster Chair in Constitutional Studies) are the brain trust behind the partnership.

 From left, OLPP founders and administrators Michael Giudice (York), Wil Waluchow (McMaster) and François Tanguay-Renaud (Osgoode)
Above: From left, OLPP founders and administrators Michael Giudice (York), Wil Waluchow (McMaster) and François Tanguay-Renaud (Osgoode)

“Through the OLPP, Osgoode, as well as McMaster’s and York’s departments of philosophy confirm their status as international leaders in legal philosophy and associated dimensions of political and moral philosophy,” said Tanguay-Renaud, co-director with Giudice of the new combined Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Philosophy (JD/MA) program offered by Osgoode and York’s philosophy department, and acting director of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security at Osgoode.

“This collective effort, which builds on solid pre-existing relations between the partners, promises to enable new ambitious research collaborations and grant applications, allow for the development of cutting-edge opportunities for our JD and graduate students, and project even further the partners’ already well-established reputations in the field.”

Tanguay-Renaud said the OLPP formalizes existing links between the three partners that have become increasingly solid and fruitful since the beginning of the millennium.

“The OLPP will create even further opportunities for each institution and their students,” said Tanguay-Renaud, noting that it has already helped to inspire and dynamize the Nathanson Centre’s Legal Philosophy between State and Transnationalism international seminar series, Osgoode’s ’Or ’Emet annual public lecture, the Transnational Legal Theory Journal, the McMaster visiting speakers series, Osgoode’s recent criminal law theory international conference, and other prominent legal philosophy initiatives at McMaster and York.

The OLPP’s latest initiative sees McMaster’s philosophy department, under the leadership of Waluchow and fellow OLPP member Professor Stefan Sciaraffa, hosting an international conference on “The Nature of Law: Contemporary Perspectives” May 11 to 15, with most of the biggest names in general analytical jurisprudence present.

The OLPP, which is also composed of a large contingent of faculty members from the three partner institutions, will be strongly represented in the conference program with Giudice delivering one of the keynote addresses. One of Osgoode’s newest hires, Professor Dan Priel (hired from the University of Warwick in the UK), and Distinguished Research Professor Allan Hutchinson (now serving as acting dean of York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies) will also be presenting papers.

Suzanne Crosta, dean of McMaster’s Faculty of Humanities, and Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Lorne Sossin both have high praise for the OLPP. “We look forward with great anticipation to the rich intellectual synergies that will result from the new partnership,” Crosta said.

“The partnership brings together internationally recognized scholars to explore a shared passion for the philosophy of law and will provide a unique experience for the law and philosophy graduate students involved,” noted Sossin.

What’s more, Brian Leiter, professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago and one of the most eminent legal philosophers of our day, has written glowingly about the OLPP on his philosophy blog. “This will be of interest to students of legal philosophy, involving York University, Toronto (and its law school, Osgoode) and McMaster University,” writes Leiter,  “which, together, comprise probably the strongest legal philosophy cohort in Canada and one of the best ones in North America.”

For more information, visit the OLPP website.