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The Reasonable Man « A Serious Look At Life

The Reasonable Man « A Serious Look At Life

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Published by Peter Barnett

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Published by: Peter Barnett on Aug 06, 2012
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06/08/2012The Reasonable Man « A Serious Look At Life1/4cybercynic.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/the-reasonable-man/ 
 A Serious Look At Life A Serious Look At Life
It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That weIt seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That weare in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who haveare in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who havealways existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. (Aldous Huxley)always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. (Aldous Huxley)
The Reasonable ManThe Reasonable Man
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The English law, in judging of men’s behaviour whether it is right or wrong, refers it to anideal, but not to a very lofty one.
Sir Francis Taylor Piggott (1852-1925) - Two Chapters In The Law Of Torts (1898)
Sir Francis Taylor Piggott 
(Of the Middle Temple, Barrister-At-Law, Procureur And Advocate-General, Mauritius; LateLegal Advisor To the Japanese Cabinet) recorded in his book -
Two Chapters In The Law Of Torts
- an address thathe had made to members of the Japanese Cabinet Office, in which he presented the philosophy of  ‘
The ReasonableMan’ 
and its significance in
 English Common Law
. The following is an abstract from his opening address:
 “I could do nothing which should in the slightest degree incite the principes and sapientes of this Eastern Kingdom tofollow the example of the British legislator who makes of the path of duty a labyrinth wherein not even the wariest canwalk with safety. I trust that the Japanese lawyers will never have this means furnished to them for growing rich. Andto this end I shall talk to you about a most interesting person who is the creation of that law and who probably is notaltogether unfamiliar to you : he is called the reasonable man. His character, however, is not yet fully developed : butthe Courts are busy the year through, the long summer days excepted, in perfecting it. Not a day passes butsome fresh quality is added to, or some fresh example is given of his already delightful character.Who and what is he ? He is a man only of average intellect and intelligence, and not transcendently wise. He is veryhuman : his wisdom is only of the common worldly sort ; he cannot foresee the unexpected ; though he learnsfrom past experience, he is not one of whom we say contemptuously he is wise after the event ; acting circumspectlyhimself, he is not extreme with his neighbours, requiring them to be more than careful ; he begs them only to actcircumspectly too ; he is most particular not to do harm to his fellows deliberately ; and when he does injure them wecannot blame him, for we know that it must have been from sheer necessity, or that it was unintentional and thatthings could scarcely have happened otherwise. Indeed, he will often avoid causing people trouble which after all everyone would have said had served them right”.
06/08/2012The Reasonable Man « A Serious Look At Life2/4cybercynic.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/the-reasonable-man/ 
Sir Francis Taylor Piggott with wife and sons (Japan 1888-90)
In his book, Sir Francis Taylor Piggott elaborates at some length on his description of a reasonable man and includesmany examples of what is to be expected of the reasonable man in relation to the law. A century after Sir Francis TaylorPiggott addressed the Japanese Cabinet, the philosophy of the reasonable man barely survived in the Civil Service that Iwas a member of. Its decline being coincident with the rise of the professional politician, who, for the most part, is aqualified lawyer self assured in the knowledge that he is a reasonable man. The professional politician not qualified inLaw, knew himself to be a reasonable man at thatpentecostalmoment an electorate of reasonable men chose him torepresent them. This new breed of professional politicians rejecting the dictum;sapientes principes sapientumcongressu. Nevertheless, the philosophy of 
 ‘The Reasonable Man’ 
, often taken to besynonymouswith the term 
 ‘The Man on the Clapham Omnibus ‘,
survives inEnglish Common (Tort) Law. Yet interpretations of EnglishCommon Law regarding the attributes of the reasonable man are not without consequences inTort, as was shown bythe
The Court of Appeal
 ruling in the case of 
Fardell v. Potts.
In this case the appellant (
Mrs. Fardell
– a woman) whilst navigating a motor-launch on the River Thames, collided withthe respondent (
Mr Potts
– a man) who was navigating a punt on the river. As a result of the collisions, therespondent was immersed and caught cold. The respondent brought an action for damages, in which it was allegedthat the collision and subsequent immersion were caused by the negligent navigation of the appellant. In theLowerCourtthe judge decided that there was evidence on which the jury might find that the defendant had not takenreasonable care, and, being of that opinion, very properly left to the jury the question whether in fact she had failed touse reasonable care or not.The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded him damages. A verdict that the appellant was now asking be set aside onthe ground of misdirection by the judge in the Lower Court. The contention being that the case should never havebeen allowed to go to the Jury. The following is an abridged version of the contention made on behalf of the appellant,which interprets English Common Law as demanded by the application of the philosophy o
 ‘The Reasonable Man’ 
The Common Law of England has been laboriously built about a mythical figure-the figure of ‘The Reasonable Man’. He isan ideal, a standard, the embodiment of all those qualities which are demanded of the good citizen. No matter whatmay be the particular department of human life which falls to be considered in Courts, sooner or later the questionarises: Was this or was it not the conduct of a reasonable man?It being impossible to travel anywhere or to travel for long in that confusing forest of learned judgments which
06/08/2012The Reasonable Man « A Serious Look At Life3/4cybercynic.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/the-reasonable-man/ 

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