A Neo-Aristotelian Notion of Reciprocity: About Civic Friendship and (the Troublesome Character of) Right Judicial Decisions

  • Iris van Domselaar
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 23)


This chapter argues that a neo-Aristotelian approach can play a valuable role in accounting for reciprocity in adjudication. It can solve the central flaws that an “adjudication as applied moral theory” approach faces. In addition, the author asserts that a neo-Aristotelian approach to adjudication needs the concept of civic friendship in order to really account for reciprocity in adjudication. Citizens will have a reason to accept the painful burden of a particular judicial decision if the decision is made by a judge who is both judicially wise and a civic friend.

It will be shown that this neo-Aristotelian approach comes with a “troublesome” judicial phenomenology. Both the judge and the losing party will be confronted with the inescapable limits of reciprocity. Not only will the actual grounds of judicial decisions remain to some extent inarticulate, also, these decisions will sometimes come with a genuine moral loss.


Moral Theory Practical Wisdom Judicial Decision Fellow Citizen Constitutional Democracy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author wishes to thank her colleagues Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer, Frans Jacobs, Dorien Pessers and Joep van der Vliet for discussions and their generous help in preparing this chapter. In particular she owes thanks to an anonymous referee for his constructive and insightful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amsterdam Law SchoolUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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