David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In D. S. Oderberg & Chappell T. D. J. (eds.), Human Values: New Essays on Ethics and Natural Law. Palgrave Macmillan (2004)
There is a tendency in contemporary jurisprudence to regard political authority and, more particularly, legal intervention in human affairs as having no justification unless it can be defended by what Laing calls the principle of modern liberal autonomy (MLA). According to this principle, if consenting adults want to do something, unless it does specific harm to others here and now, the law has no business intervening. Harm to the self and general harm to society can constitute no justification for legal regulation or prohibition. So pervasive is this understanding of legal intervention in human affairs, that it is common now to encounter arguments in favour of permissive laws on, for example, private drug use, pornography, sexual and reproductive choice, based on the idea that to intervene in these areas would constitute a breach of the liberal ideal. The only alternative to modern liberal autonomy is assumed to be radical oppression, in which the State intervenes in the individual’s life to impose unwarranted measures designed to further its own ends. The legacy of Stalin, Hitler and other modern tyrants has undermined conceptual appeals to the common good. So widespread is this liberal assumption in the Western, English-speaking world that critics of the outlook embodied by MLA are customarily regarded with suspicion and charged with paternalism, narrow-mindedness and intolerance. Laing highlights contradictions inherent in the modern liberal tradition. She argues that there is a certain reliance on the notion of the common good within the natural law tradition that is instructive. According to this view, the common good constitutes a mean between two extremes: on the one hand, contemporary liberalism’s over-insistence on radical individual autonomy and, on the other hand, totalitarianism’s over-emphasis on collective social benefit. There is, I will argue, substantial terrain between the conceptual excesses of modern liberalism and oppressive tyranny that needs to be acknowledged and discussed.
|Keywords||Liberalism Hart Devlin debate Limits of legal regulation Mill Laaw and Morality|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Jim Wishloff (2009). The Land of Realism and the Shipwreck of Idea-Ism: Thomas Aquinas and Milton Friedman on the Social Responsibilities of Business. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 85 (2):137 - 155.
Jim Wishloff (2009). The Land of Realism and the Shipwreck of Idea-Ism: Thomas Aquinas and Milton Friedman on the Social Responsibilities of Business. Journal of Business Ethics 85 (2):137-155.
Similar books and articles
Roger Cotterrell (2000). Common Law Approaches to the Relationship Between Law and Morality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 3 (1):9-26.
Michael Sandel (2003). Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Routledge, in Association with the Open University 336-343.
Ken I. Kersch (2004). Smoking, Progressive Liberalism, and the Law. Critical Review 16 (4):405-429.
Filiz Kartal (2006). The Rights-Bearing Citizen as a Problematic Actor of Liberal Politics. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 2:159-163.
Lucas Swaine (2010). Heteronomous Citizenship: Civic Virtue and the Chains of Autonomy. Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (1):73-93.
Gerald Doppelt (1993). The Moral Limits of Feinberg's Liberalism. Inquiry 36 (3):255 – 286.
John Philip Christman & Joel Anderson (eds.) (2005). Autonomy and the Challenges of Liberalism: New Essays. Cambridge University Press.
Colin M. Macleod (1997). Liberal Neutrality or Liberal Tolerance? Law and Philosophy 16 (5):529 - 559.
Peter Cane (2006). Taking Law Seriously: Starting Points of the Hart/Devlin Debate. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 10 (1-2):21 - 51.
John Gray (2000). Mill's Liberalism and Liberalism's Posterity. Journal of Ethics 4 (1-2):137-165.
Added to index2012-09-15
Total downloads287 ( #7,439 of 1,902,070 )
Recent downloads (6 months)103 ( #4,315 of 1,902,070 )
How can I increase my downloads?