Taking law seriously: Starting points of the hart/devlin debate [Book Review]

Journal of Ethics 10 (1-2):21 - 51 (2006)
The famous mid-20th century debate between Patrick Devlin and Herbert Hart about the relationship between law and morality addressed the limits of the criminal law in the context of a proposal by the Wolfenden Committee to decriminalize male homosexual activity in private. The original exchanges and subsequent contributions to the debate have been significantly constrained by the terms in which the debate was framed: a focus on criminal law in general and sexual offences in particular; a preoccupation with the so-called “harm principle,” a sharp delineation of the realms of law and morality, and a static conception of the relationship between them. This article explores the limitations imposed by these various starting-points and argues for a holistic and symbiotic understanding of the relationship between law and morality.
Keywords Joel Feinberg  H. L. A. Hart  harm principle  Hart–Devlin debate  law and morality  legal enforcement of morality  legal moralism  limits of the criminal law  Lord Devlin  J. S. Mill  paternalism  sexual offences  Wolfenden Committee
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,675
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Hamish Stewart (2010). The Limits of the Harm Principle. Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (1):17-35.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

179 ( #21,411 of 1,938,957 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #50,009 of 1,938,957 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.