This volume collects David Lyons' well-known essays on Mill's moral theory and includes an introduction which relates the essays to prior and subsequent philosophical developments. Like the author's Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism (Oxford, 1965), the essays apply analytical methods to issues in normative ethics. The first essay defends a refined version of the beneficiary theory of rights against H.L.A. Hart's important criticisms. The central set of essays develops new interpretations of Mill's moral theory with the aim of determining how (...) far rights can be incorporated in a utilitarian framework. They Mill's analysis of moral concepts promises to accommodate the argumentative force of rights, and also provide a significant new reading of Mill's theory of liberty. The last essay argues that the promise of Mill's theory of justice cannot be fulfilled. Utilitarianism is unable to account for crucial features of moral rights, or even for the moral force of legal rights whose existence might be justified on utilitarian grounds. (shrink)
Although known as the founder of modern utilitarianism and the source of analytical jurisprudence, Bentham today is infrequently read but often caricatured. The present book offers a reinterpretation of Bentham's main philosophical doctrines, his principle of utility and his analysis of law, philosophical doctrines, as they are developed in Bentham's most important works. A new reading is also given to his theory of law, which suggests Bentham's insight, originality, and continued interest for philosophers and legal theorists. First published in 1973, (...) this revised edition contains a new Preface, a revised Bibliography, and two new Indexes, one of Names and one of Subjects, which together replace the original index. (shrink)
An introduction to the philosophy of law, which offers a modern and critical appraisal of all the main issues and problems. This has become a very active area in the last ten years, and one on which philosophers, legal practitioners and theorists and social scientists have tended to converge. The more abstract questions about the nature of law and its relationship to social norms and moral standards are now seen to be directly relevant to more practical and indeed pressing questions (...) about the justification of punishment, civil disobedience, the enforcement of morality, and problems about justice, rights, welfare, and freedom. David Lyons is a shrewd, clear and systematic guide through this tangled area. The book presupposes no formal training in law or philosophy and is intended to serve as a textbook in a range of introductory courses. (shrink)
J s mill's principle of liberty is often thought to say that the only good reason for interfering with a person's conduct is that it is harmful to others. An alternative interpretation is defended: that the only good reason for interfering is to prevent harm to others. Harm-Prevention is the aim, But the latter principle allows that conduct affected not be harmful; interference must be calculated to prevent harm to others, Perhaps indirectly. This accords with mill's official statement of his (...) principle, Accommodates his own otherwise troublesome examples of cooperation and good samaritan requirements, And fits as well with the texts. (shrink)
Some forms of ethical relativism seem to endorse strict contradictions. Various forms of relativism are distinguished, And their vulnerability to such charges compared. Means of avoiding incoherence are considered. Relativistic justification seems either innocuous but nonrelativistic or else unintelligible. Relativistic analyses of moral judgments are implausible and seem required for no other purpose than to avoid charges of incoherence.
David Lyons is one of the preeminent philosophers of law active in the United States. This volume comprises essays written over a period of twenty years in which Professor Lyons outlines his fundamental views about the nature of law and its relation to morality and justice. The underlying theme of the book is that a system of law has only a tenuous connection with morality and justice. Contrary to those legal theorists who maintain that no matter how bad the law (...) of a community might be, strict conformity to existing law automatically dispenses "formal" justice, Professor Lyons contends that the law must earn the respect that it demands. Moreover, we cannot, as some would suggest, interpret law in a value-neutral manner. Rather courts should interpret statutes, judicial precedents, and constitutional provisions in terms of values that would justify those laws. In this way officials can promote the justifiability of what they do to people in the name of law, and can help the law live up to its moral pretensions. (shrink)