01 February 2010

The Metaphysics of Campaign Finance

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with the ultimate or basic or fundamental structure of reality, in particular the sorts of entities that constitute the world. It is by definition non-scientific coming, as the label suggests, after physics. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, illustrated how law is shot through with bizarre metaphysical assumptions. Those metaphysical assumptions underwrite a set of political practices that, to say the least, are dubious. In this column at The Nation Patricia Williams holds the Roberts-Alito-Scalia-Thomas-Kennedy sect up for the ridicule they so richly deserve.

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