This year sees the tercentenary of the Regius Chair in Law at the University of Glasgow. As part of this, Dr Maksymilian Del Mar has been invited to look into W.D. Lamont whose papers Glasgow University Archive Services hold (reference: ACCN1468). Dr Del Mar explains, “the School has commissioned chapters on various aspects of the School’s history for a collection to be edited by members of the School. I have been asked to write about Jurisprudence. Broadly speaking, I am looking at the relationship between moral philosophy and jurisprudence at Glasgow, and doing this primarily through the work of W.D. Lamont.”
Dr Del Mar is Senior Lecturer in Law and Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC) at Queen Mary, University of London. He has a wide range of interests in the areas of legal theory and legal reasoning, legal education and the history of ideas about law and society. As part of the Leverhulme Research Fellowship Dr Del Mar is conducting research into the life and work of Sir Neil MacCormick; this ties into his work on Lamont, who taught MacCormick whilst MacCormick was a student at the University of Glasgow.
W. D. Lamont was a Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, having started his career in academia with an MA from the university in 1925. In a career spanning two continents Lamont taught Philosophy in Cairo, served as a Naval Intelligence Officer during the Second World War and was principal of Makerere College in Uganda during the latter half of the forties. He received an honorary degree from the latter when it became part of the University of the East of Africa
It was Lamont’s “unique” approach to moral philosophy that caught Dr Del Mar’s attention, “he thought of it as a science that had to take into account the social sciences, especially law and economics. According to Lamont, legislation, judicial decisions and customary law are all data for moral philosophers: they’re the best evidence moral philosophers have of the everyday practice of moral judgement (of the standards used by ordinary people in judging what is right and wrong). My focus is on two of his books – Principles of Moral Judgment (1946) and Law and the Moral Order (1981) – in which he engages with the law.”
As ever, the archive enriched research by holding papers that cannot be found elsewhere. “Consulting the archives was extremely useful for me, for I was able to find evidence of his correspondence with lawyers and jurisprudes (someone who practices jurisprudence), a number of whom had given Lamont extensive comments on drafts of his books.”
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