Professor Konvitz explains the connection of ILR 308 to the present semester’s study. In 308, he explored the evolution of those American ideals inherent in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and subsequently utilized and interpreted by the court decisions of the American judicial system, particularly the Supreme Court. Many of the values reflected in these fundamental documents, Professor Konvitz suggests, were not original with the founders of the Republic but were derived from much more ancient, abstract, and broader principles inherent in Western civilization. Konvitz quotes Immanuel Kant: “precepts without concepts are empty; concepts without precepts are blind.” As the first semester explored the precepts that were underpinning of American constitutional law, the second semester would explore the broad Western intellectual tradition from which the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and other aspects of what we know as American ideals, were largely rooted. He offers several examples.
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