Billy Budd and the Duty to Enforce the Law

Philosophy Research Archives 11:245-268 (1985)
Herman Melville’s Billy Budd presents a classic example of a legal official legally required to enforce a law he believes or knows to be unjust. Although there has been considerable discussion of a citizen’s moral duty to obey unjust laws, there has been little consideration of a legalofficial’s duty to enforce unjust laws.In this paper I take the central moral dilemma of the novel -- a legal official’s moral duty to enforce a valid law of a legal system vs. his moral duty not to do or to contribute to injustice -- and discuss various moral considerations that would bear on this dilemma. By doing this I hope to contribute both to the moral issues involved as weIl as, to some extent, the literary criticism with regard to Billy Budd
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/pra19851114
 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: 16,661
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Lester H. Hunt (2002). Billy Budd : Melville's Dilemma. Philosophy and Literature 26 (2):273-295.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

11 ( #219,154 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #147,227 of 1,726,249 )

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.