Biography

Binesh Hass is a Research Fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, a Research Associate at the Centre for Criminology, and a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. His work centres on two research projects: (i) the legal regulation of certain medical technologies, such as germline genetic modification, by relying on constitutional and rule of law principles; and (ii) genetic profiling and sentencing practices, drawing in particular from theoretical criminology, jurisprudence, and bioethics.

Binesh received his DPhil in Law from the University of Oxford with a thesis on the possibility conditions of reasons for action in the law, focussing in particular on legal rules. In 2009, he co-founded the Women’s Rights Research Seminars in Oxford, which continues to focus interdisciplinary attention on the status of women in settings of legal disadvantage. He has also held visiting research fellowships in legal and political philosophy at the École normale supérieure in Paris (Ulm) and at Freie and Humboldt universities in Berlin. 

Publications

Recent additions

  • B Hass, 'The Opaqueness of Rules' (2021) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (forthcoming)
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqaa054
    This article takes up the question of whether legal rules are reasons for action. They are commonly regarded in this way, yet are legal rules reasons for action themselves (the reflexivity thesis) or are they instead merely statements of other reasons that we may already have (the paraphrastic thesis)? I argue for a version of the paraphrastic thesis. In doing so, considerable attention is given to the neglected but important puzzle of the opaqueness of rules, which arises out of what some regard as the gap between the evaluative grounds of legal rules and what makes them into reasons for action. After examining an important articulation of the puzzle in the work of Joseph Raz, I argue that the reflexivity thesis is (i) undermined by certain features of rule making and (ii) defeated by the principle of presumptive sufficiency. The result is that it is possible for legal rules to be paraphrastic statements of reasons but, conversely, impossible for them to be reasons in themselves.
  • B Hass, 'The Methods of Normativity' (2017) 30 The Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence 159
    This essay is an examination of the relationship between phenomenology and analytic method in the philosophy of law. It proceeds by way of a case study, the requirement of compliance in Raz’s theory of mandatory norms. Proceeding in this way provides a degree of specificity that is otherwise neglected in the relevant literature on method. Drawing on insights from the philosophy of art and cognitive neuroscience, it is argued that the requirement of compliance is beset by a range of epistemological difficulties. The implications of these difficulties are then reviewed for method and normativity in practical reason. A topology of normativity emerges nearer the end of the paper, followed by a brief examination of how certain normative categories must satisfy distinct burdens of proof. Keywords: normativity, philosophy of law, metaethics, compliance, methodology

Journal Article (2)

B Hass, 'The Opaqueness of Rules' (2021) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (forthcoming)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqaa054
This article takes up the question of whether legal rules are reasons for action. They are commonly regarded in this way, yet are legal rules reasons for action themselves (the reflexivity thesis) or are they instead merely statements of other reasons that we may already have (the paraphrastic thesis)? I argue for a version of the paraphrastic thesis. In doing so, considerable attention is given to the neglected but important puzzle of the opaqueness of rules, which arises out of what some regard as the gap between the evaluative grounds of legal rules and what makes them into reasons for action. After examining an important articulation of the puzzle in the work of Joseph Raz, I argue that the reflexivity thesis is (i) undermined by certain features of rule making and (ii) defeated by the principle of presumptive sufficiency. The result is that it is possible for legal rules to be paraphrastic statements of reasons but, conversely, impossible for them to be reasons in themselves.
B Hass, 'The Methods of Normativity' (2017) 30 The Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence 159
This essay is an examination of the relationship between phenomenology and analytic method in the philosophy of law. It proceeds by way of a case study, the requirement of compliance in Raz’s theory of mandatory norms. Proceeding in this way provides a degree of specificity that is otherwise neglected in the relevant literature on method. Drawing on insights from the philosophy of art and cognitive neuroscience, it is argued that the requirement of compliance is beset by a range of epistemological difficulties. The implications of these difficulties are then reviewed for method and normativity in practical reason. A topology of normativity emerges nearer the end of the paper, followed by a brief examination of how certain normative categories must satisfy distinct burdens of proof. Keywords: normativity, philosophy of law, metaethics, compliance, methodology

Centres

Research Interests

Bioethics, practical reason, jurisprudence, theoretical criminology.

Research projects