In order responsibly to decide whether there ought to be an international legal right of secession, I believe we need an account of the morality of secession. I propose that territorial and political societies have a moral right to secede, and on that basis I propose a regime designed to give such groups an international legal right to secede. This regime would create a procedure that could be followed by groups desiring to secede or by states desiring to resolve (...) the issue of secession. It would give territorial political societies a legally recognized liberty to conduct a plebiscite on secession, and, assuming such a plebiscite is won by the secessionist side, a qualified right in international law to create a state without interference. Alan Buchanan has argued that proposals of this sort would create perverse incentives. I argue that there is no good reason to believe this. The point is to allow the legal regulation of secession in cases where there are active secessionist movements with legitimate moral claims, and to attempt to dampen the desire for secession in cases where secessionist sentiment is not well grounded in social and geographic reality. (shrink)
Through a critical engagement with Jeremy Waldron’s work, as well as the work of other writers, I offer an account of the relative scope of the morality of war, the laws of war, and war crimes. I propose an instrumentalist account of the laws of war, according to which the laws of war should help soldiers conform to the morality of war. The instrumentalist account supports Waldron’s conclusion that the laws of war justifiably prohibit attacks on civilians even (...) if it turns out that some civilians lack a moral right not to be killed. Importantly, the instrumentalist account also offers what Waldron thinks impossible: a non-consequentialist defense of the failure of the laws of war to prohibit the killing of nonthreatening combatants. Finally, I argue that new war crimes can be broader than the morality of war as well as established laws of war and that many of the arguments for defining war crimes more narrowly than either the morality of war or the laws of war are unconvincing. In all of these ways, I hope to carry forward Waldron’s project of exploring the relationship between law and morality in war. (shrink)
In order to clarify the relationship between morality and law, it is necessary to define both concepts precisely. Cultural realities refer to concepts which are more specifically defined if we focus towards the genealogy of those realities, that is to say, their motivation, function and aim. Should we start from legal anthropology, comparative law and history of law, law arises as a social technique which coactively imposes ways of solving conflicts, protecting fundamental values for a society's co-existence. Values subject (...) to being protected are proposed by morality, the latter making subordination of law to morality inevitable. This explains that a great number of modern constitutions include a reference to fundamental moral values, that is to say, they have explicitly positivised moral contents. Legal reasoning, at all levels and expressions, needs to appeal to the aforementioned values. Constitutional reasoning, international law, legislative activity and judicial practice are studied to verify the latter. This subordination of law to morality sets out a serious problem: moralities are cultural realities which are only valid for a specific society. In order for law not to fall in a not very rational legal relativism, law should not be subordinated to morality, but to ethics, the latter understood as cross-cultural morality. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a step forward in this sense. (shrink)
How are general relations of law and morality typically conceived in an environment of Anglo-saxon common law? This paper considers some classical common law methods and traditions as these have confronted and been overlaid with modern ideas of legal positivism. While classical common law treated a community and its morality as the cultural foundation of law, legal positivism's analytical separation of law and morals, allied with liberal approaches to legal regulation, have made the relationship of legal and moral (...) principles more complex and contested. Using ideas from Durkheim's and Weber's sociology, I argue that the traditional common law emphasis on an inductive, empirical treatment of moral practices has continuing merit, but in contemporary conditions the vague idea of community embedded in classical common law thought must be replaced with a much more precise conceptualisation of coexisting communities, whose moral bonds are diverse and require a corresponding diversity of forms of legal recognition or protection. (shrink)
In support of my longstanding claim that the traditional divide between natural law and legal positivist theories of law, the present paper explores a variety of necessary connections between law and morality which are consistent with theories of law traditionally identified as positivist.
In recent years, bariatric surgery has become an increasingly popular treatment of obesity. The amount of resources spent on this kind of surgery has led to a heated debate among health care professionals and the general public, as each procedure costs at minimum $14,500 and thousands of patients undergo surgery every year. So far, no substantial argument for or against giving this treatment a high priority has, however, been presented. In this article, I argue that regardless which moral perspective we (...) consider—greatest need, utility or personal responsibility—the conclusion is that we should give bariatric surgery a high priority when allocating scarce resources in health care. (shrink)
In "Democracy and Tradition," Jeffrey Stout contends that American constitutional democracy constitutes a well-functioning moral and political tradition that is not hostile to religion, although it does not depend on any specifically religious claims. I argue that Stout's contention is supported by a consideration of the great common law subject of contracts, as taught to first-year law students across the United States. First, I demonstrate how contract law can fruitfully be understood as a Maclntyrean tradition. Second, I illustrate the moral (...) richness of this tradition, and the mutually interpreting nature of rules and facts, by close attention to one particularly colorful case, Syester v. Banta. I conclude by suggesting that both religious and secular ethicists might find common law cases in general and contract law cases in particular to be a source of moral reflection that is substantively rich without being religiously divisive. (shrink)
Law and morality : constructs and models -- The morality of cognition : the normativity of ordinary reasoning -- Law in action : a praxeological approach to law and justice -- Law in context : legal activity and the institutional context -- Procedural constraint : sequentiality, routine, and formal correctness -- Legal relevance : the production of factuality and legality -- From law in the books to law in action : egyptian criminal law between doctrine, case law, jurisprudence, (...) and practice -- The natural person : the contingent and contextual production of legal personality -- The production of causality : a praxeological grammar of the use of causal concepts -- Intention in action : the teleological orientation of the parties to criminal cases -- Morality on trial : structure and intelligibility of the court sentence -- Questions of morality : sequential, structured organization of the interrogation -- The categories of morality : homosexuality between perversion and debauchery. (shrink)
In the debate between positivism and non-positivism the argument from relativism plays a pivotal role. The argument from relativism, as put forward, for instance, by Hans Kelsen, says, first, that a necessary connection between law and morality presupposes the existence of absolute, objective, or necessary moral elements, and, second, that no such absolute, objective, or necessary moral elements exist. My reply to this is that absolute, objective, or necessary moral elements do exist, for human rights exist, and human rights (...) exist because they are justifiable. (shrink)
This collection of essays presents Jeffrie G. Murphy's most recent ideas on punishment, forgiveness, and the emotions of resentment, shame, guilt, remorse, love, and jealousy. In Murphy's view, conscious rationales of principle -- such as crime control or giving others what in justice they deserve -- do not always drive our decisions to punish or condemn others for wrongdoing. Sometimes our decisions are in fact driven by powerful and rather base emotions such as malice, spite, envy, and cruelty. But our (...) decisions to punish or condemn can also be driven by noble emotions. Indeed, if we punish to express the justified resentment and indignation that decent people feel toward the wronging of a human being, punishment and condemnation can be seen acts of love. Once we realize the vital roles that emotions can play in punishment and other forms of condemnation, we can explore them in a variety of important ways. Jealousy sometimes causes crimes, forgiveness allows us to overcome resentment, and mercy - inspired by compassion-- limits the severity of punishment. All these emotions may be called "moral emotions"-meaning simply that they are emotions that essentially involve a moral belief. The essays in this collection explore, from philosophical and religious perspectives, a variety of moral emotions and their relationship to punishment and condemnation or to decisions to lessen punishment or condemnation. Those interested in ethics, philosophy of law, and the nature and role of the emotions, will find much of interest in these essays by this highly distinguished scholar. -/- "This volume brings together a number of Jeffrie Murphy's ground-breaking essays of the last twelve years on an impressive range of deeply important issues: the moral emotions (in particular, resentment, shame, jealousy, and remorse); forgiveness and mercy; the foundations of the theory of punishment; and the nature of dignity. Murphy's wonderfully clear and perceptive essays are indispensable for anyone interested in these and related topics." - Charles L. Griswold, Boston University -/- "In this new collection of exceptionally stimulating essays a distinguished philosopher engages topics of great interest to philosophers and non-philosophers alike - the nature of guilt, shame, remorse, forgiveness, repentance, love, jealousy, punishment and their roles in our lives. Few philosophers, until relatively recently, directed any sustained attention to these significant aspects of our lives. Murphy's essays go a substantial distance toward remedying this neglect. His approach is analytic; his arguments are clearly presented; his style is personal and engaging; insights are frequently accompanied by apposite quotes from poetry and fiction. There is an appealing humility and openness to the views of others. Readers will be drawn in by both the drama of his engagement with his earlier views that he now finds wanting as well as the ongoing drama of his responses to others with whom he disagrees. There is no plodding through arid discourse in order to uncover jewels in this work. This is philosophy done in a manner that promotes both knowledge and enjoyment." - Herbert Morris, University of California at Los Angeles -/- "Jeffrie Murphy has compiled a collection of influential essays that will be important across disciplines and relevant to the way we understand -- and more importantly treat -- moral transgressors and their victims. In his typically elegant, literary, and humorous style Murphy examines such moral emotions as sympathy, compassion, forgiveness, resentment, and vengeance, getting to the heart of the philosophical dilemmas in a way that speaks to the lived lives of victims and wrong-doers. His thinking is both clear and brilliant, and he expresses it here in inspired and satisfying arguments." - Sharon Lamb, Chair & Distinguished Professor of Mental Health, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston -/- "Over the past forty years, Jeffrie Murphy has been our surest and sagest guide across the contested boundary lines between law and morality, crime and sin, retribution and rehabilitation. This volume not only reveals his trademark erudition in exploring the most fundamental questions of crime and punishment. It also shows the humility of a wise and seasoned scholar, who has come to a new appreciation for the moral emotions of resentment, guilt, remorse, and shame, and their constructive role in fostering forgiveness, reformation, and reconciliation among criminals and their victims. You cannot read this volume without being persuaded by its argument and moved by its passion." - John Witte, Jr., Emory -/- "This welcome new collection of essays displays all the virtues that we have come to expect from Murphy's work: a distinctive voice, a sensitivity to the acute moral problems posed by our practices of punishment, illuminating discussions informed by a lucid philosophical and moral imagination. It makes more widely available Murphy's further thoughts on such central concepts as guilt, remorse, retribution, repentance, forgiveness, mercy and dignity, and should confirm his standing as one of the most interesting contemporary writers on criminal law and its moral foundations." -Antony Duff, University of Stirling. (shrink)
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a new statutory offence of "sexual activity in a public lavatory" into English law. Although written as a gender-neutral offence, the statute was formulated and enacted on the basis of concerns about male homosexual sexual activity in public lavatories ("cottaging"). This paper examines the justifications for, and implications of, the legislation. It considers the main arguments made in support of the offence and situates these within established moral, legal, and social debates about homosexuality. The (...) paper considers the relationship between conceptions of public and private morality in relation to the legal regulation of homosexual sex. It goes on to explore the complex nature of regulating public sex in relation to sexual practices which often maintain high degrees of privacy. The final part of the paper argues that the legislation is largely in contradiction with the realities of police work and contemporary law enforcement. (shrink)
Lawyers and philosophers have long debated whether law should enforce social morality. This paper explores whether law should improve social morality. It explains how this might be possible, and what sort of obstacles, factual and moral, there are to doing so. It concludes with an example: our law should attempt to improve our social morality of sexual conduct.
The revisionist critique of conventional just war theory has undoubtedly scored some important victories. Walzer’s elegantly unified defense of combatant legal equality and noncombatant immunity has been seriously undermined. This critical success has not, however, been matched by positive arguments, which when applied to the messy reality of war would deprive states and soldiers of the permission to fight wars that are plausibly thought to be justified. The appeal to law that is sought to resolve this objection by casting it (...) as a practical concern, a pragmatic worry about implementation, which while germane to debates over the laws of war, need not undermine our convictions in the fundamental principles the revisionists advocate. This response is inadequate. Revisionists have not shown that soldiers should obey the laws of war, in practice, when they conflict with their other moral reasons – our worries about application remain intact. Moreover, a theory of war that offers only an account of the laws of war, and a set of fundamental principles developed in abstraction from feasibility constraints, is radically incomplete. We need to know how to apply those fundamental principles, and whether, when applied, they lead to defensible conclusions. Only two options seem to remain. Perhaps the revisionists’ arguments for their chosen fundamental principles are sufficiently compelling that we should stick with them, and accept their troubling conclusions – in other words, accept pacifism. Alternatively, we need to revise our fundamental principles, so that when applied they yield conclusions that we can more confidently endorse. -/- Though it does not save the revisionist view from the responsibility dilemma and cognate objections, the appeal to law does raise an important, and previously inadequately theorized, question – or, rather, resurrects a neglected topic, discussed in depth by historical just war theorists such as Grotius and Vattel. There are good grounds for distinguishing the laws of war from the morality of war, and for adjusting the former to accommodate predictable noncompliance, that should not impact on our account of the latter. Nonetheless, I have argued that there are some profound moral insights underlying both combatant legal equality and noncombatant immunity: specifically, we cannot infer from a combatant’s side having not satisfied jus ad bellum that he may not justifiably use lethal force; and other things equal, it is more wrongful to harm a nonliable noncombatant than to harm a nonliable combatant. (shrink)
Herbert Hart and the positivists influenced by him have, according to Nigel Simmonds, deflected attention from the question that has always been at the heart of philosophical reflection on law. This question concerns the relationship between law and morality and how we should understand it. Simmonds argues that law and morality are necessarily related and seeks to explain their relationship by reference to an archetype that actually existing legal institutions approximate more or less adequately. He identifies this archetype (...) as providing the basis for an analysis of law that is free from metaphysics and universally applicable. This review article raises doubts concerning Simmonds’ claims to offer a metaphysics-free and universal analysis. It also offers an argument in support of the conclusion that he has failed to point up the complexity of the positivist tradition he criticizes. While Simmonds is vulnerable to these criticisms, he throws light on an egalitarian philosophy of government that informs legal institutions in the West and is relevant to positivist analyses of law. (shrink)
Incentives and reasons -- Values and human nature -- Right and wrong -- Questions of trust -- Autonomy and freedom -- Obedience, freedom, and engagement : or utility? -- Society, property, and commerce -- On justice -- Using freedom well -- Judging : legal cases and moral questions -- Practical reason, law, and state.
In the past twenty years Joseph Raz has consolidated his reputation as one of the most acute, inventive, and energetic scholars currently at work in analytic moral and political theory. This new collection of essays forms a representative selection of his most significant contributions to a number of important debates, including the extent of political duty and obligation, and the issue of self-determination. He also examines aspects of the common (and ancient) theme of the relations between law and morality. (...) This volume of essays, available in one volume for the first time, will be essential to legal philosophers and political theorists. (shrink)
It is argued (a) that laws are assurances of protections of rights and (b) that governments are protectors of rights. Lest those assurances be empty and thus not really be assurances at all, laws must be enforced and governments must therefore have the power to coerce. For this reason, the government of a given region tends to have, as Max Weber put it, a "monopoly on power" in that region. And because governments are power-monopolizers, it is tempting to think that (...) the concepts of government and law are to be understood in terms of the concept of power. In actuality, the first two concepts are to be understood primarily in terms of the concept of morality--of rights-protection, to be specific--and only secondarily in terms of the concept of power. Contentions (a) and (b) appear to be inconsistent with obvious facts (e.g. the fact that Pol Pot's regime violated the rights of those over whom it had power). But (a) and (b) are compatible with those facts. This is a consequence of two principles. First, moral requirements have a "dimension of weight," as Dworkin put it, meaning that one moral imperative can be outweighed, without being obliterated, by another moral imperative. Second, sentential operators can have different degrees of scope. "It is hereby assured that" is such an operator. Linguistic surface structure may obfuscate the degree of scope that it has in a given sentence. That fact compatibilizes our analysis with the fact that there are evil laws and evil governments. (shrink)
Whether we should respect international law is in dispute. In the United States, international law is dismissed by the left as merely promoting the interests of powerful states. It is attacked by the right as irrelevant and an interference with the interests and mission of the United States. And it follows from the arguments of many liberals that in the absence of world government the world is in a Hobbesian state of nature and international law inapplicable. This article reviews the (...) thinking of Kant, Locke, and Rawls, among others and shows how arguments against respect for international law can be answered. It questions arguments based on the analogy between states and individuals, and between international law as it has developed and law based on an ideal social contract between individuals. It then turns to the ethics of care, a recent addition to moral theory, and examines its major characteristics and recommendations. It considers how the ethics of care would view international law and the guidance this moral approach could provide for international relations. The article shows how the ethics of care is compatible with various current trends, and how thinking about globalization and greater international interdependence would benefit from greater attention to it. The article argues that the ethics of care would clearly support respect for international law as it has developed, but that it would even more strongly support addressing current problems in ways that would, in the longer term, make appeals to law and its enforcements ever less necessary. Keywords: international law; the ethics of care; moral theory; political theory; social contract; states; groups; Hobbes; Kant; Locke (Published: 16 September 2011) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 4 , No. 3, 2011, pp. 173-194. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v4i3.8405. (shrink)
Powerful emotion and pursuit of self-interest have many times led people to break the law with the belief that they are doing so with sound moral reasons. This study is a comprehensive philosophical and legal analysis of the gray area in which the foundations of law and morality clash. This objective book views these oblique circumstances from two perspectives: that of the person who faces a possible conflict between the claims of morality and law and must choose whether (...) or not to obey the penal code; and that of the people who make and uphold laws and must decide whether to treat someone with a moral claim to disobey differently from ordinary lawbreakers. In examining the extent of the obligations owed by citizens to their government, Greenawalt concentrates on the possible existence of a single source of obligation that reaches all citizens and all laws. He also discusses techniques of amelioration of punishment for conscientious lawbreakers, asking how far legal systems should go to accomodate individuals who break the law for reason of conscience. Drawing from numerous examples of conflicts between law and morality, Greenawalt illustrates in detail the positions and predicaments of potential lawbreakers and lawmakers alike. (shrink)
Some of the most difficult and wrenching social and political issues in U.S. society today are about the relationship between strongly held moral values and the laws of the land. There is no consensus about whether the law should deal with morality at all, and if it is to do so, there is no agreement over whose morality is to be reflected in the law.In this compact and carefully edited anthology, Gerald Dworkin presents the readings necessary for an (...) understanding of these issues. The volume contains classical and contemporary philosophical statements as well as a generous sampling of legal cases and opinions, including such topics of current interest as flag-burning, nude dancing, the sale of human organs, and sexual behavior. The volume represents the best in applied legal and moral philosophy. (shrink)
How are law and morality connected, how do they interact, and in what ways are they distinct? In Part I of this book, Matthew Kramer argues that moral principles can enter into the law of any jurisdiction. He contends that legal officials can invoke moral principles as laws for resolving disputes, and that they can also invoke them as threshold tests which ordinary laws must satisfy. In opposition to many other theorists, Kramer argues that these functions of moral principles (...) are consistent with all the essential characteristics of any legal system. Part II reaffirms the legal positivist argument that law and morality are separable, arguing against the position of natural-law theory, which portrays legal requirements as a species of moral requirements. Kramer contends that even though the existence of a legal system in any sizeable society is essential for the realization of fundamental moral values, law is not inherently moral either in its effects or in its motivational underpinnings. In the final part, Kramer contests the widespread view that people whose conduct is meticulously careful cannot be held morally responsible for harmful effects of their actions. Through this argument, he reveals that fault-independent liability is present even more prominently in morality than in the law. Through a variety of arguments, Where Law and Morality Meet highlights both some surprising affinities and some striking divergences between morality and law. (shrink)
Hacker, P. M. S. Hart's philosophy of law.--Baker, G. P. Defeasibility and meaning.--Dworkin, R. M. No right answer?-Lucas, J. R. The phenomenon of law.--Honoré, A. M. Real laws.--Summers, R. S. Naïve instrumentalism and the law.--Marshall, G. Positivism, adjudication, and democracy.--Cross, R. The House of Lords and the rules of precedent.--Kenny, A. J. P. Intention and mens rea in murder.--Mackie, J. L. The grounds of responsibility.--MacCormick, D. N. Rights in legislation.--Raz, J. Promises and obligations.--Foot, P. R. Approval and disapproval.--Finnis, J. M. (...) Scepticism, self-refutation, and the good of truth.--Barry, B. M. Justice between generations.--Feinberg, J. Harm and self-interest. (shrink)
In Anglo-American legal theory the lack of morality was often considered as the main problem of Nazi law. Bringing law and morality together thus seems to meet the challenge posed by the Nazi legal system. In this paper I argue that the mere unification of law and morality is not sufficient to cope with the distortions of Nazi law. By discussing the framework of the SS-jurisdiction and the case of the SS-judge Konrad Morgen I try to show (...) that in the Nazi legal system morality is so deformed that in such circumstances a judge’s aiming for justice has equivocal implications. My conclusion is that we should consider law and morality as two distinct normative spheres and approach the issue of Nazi law using a conception of legality that captures basic requirements of a rule-of-law system. (shrink)
On liberty, by J. S. Mill.--Morals and the criminal law, by P. Devlin.--Immorality and treason, by H. L. A. Hart.--Lord Devlin and the enforcement of morals, by R. Dworkin.--Sins and crimes, by A. R. Louch.--Morals offenses and the model penal code, L. B. Schwartz.--Paternalism, by G. Dworkin.--Four cases involving the enforcement of morality: Shaw v. Director of Public Prosecutions; People v. Cohen; Repouille v. United States; Commonwealth v. Donoghue.--Bibliography (p. 149).
MORALITY, JUSTICE AND THE LAW is a co-edited volume pulling together selections on theories of the moral underpinnings of law, morality and lawyering (including the religious lawyering movement), civil disobedience, capital punishment and immigration. The book was published by Prometheus Books in 2007.
H. L. A. Hart, in his classic book Law, Liberty, and Morality, is unsuccessful in arguing that James Fitzjames Stephen’s observations about the role of vice in criminal sentencing have no relevance to a more general defense of legal moralism. He does, however, have a very important insight about the special significance of sexual liberty.
Hart’s criticism of Devlin’s stance on the legal enforcement of morality has been highly influential in shaping a new liberal sensibility and in paving the way to many important legal reforms in the UK. After 50 years it is perhaps time to go back to Law, Liberty and Morality to see it in the perspective of the general evolution of Hart’s thought since the early 50s. This is a period of extraordinary creativity for the Oxford philosopher, in which (...) he writes many important contributions to legal, moral and political philosophy. Prominent among these is ‘Are There Any Natural Rights?’, an article that sets the agenda for Hart’s subsequent work on liberty, fairness and rights, and provides the philosophical background for the liberal understanding of the relations between law and morality defended in Law, Liberty and Morality. (shrink)
Law, unlike morality, is made by someone. So it may, unlike morality, have aims, which are the aims of its makers (either individually or collectively). Not all law has aims, however, because not all law-making is intentional. Customary law is made by convergent actions that are performed without the intention of making law, and so without any further intention to achieve anything by making law, i.e. without any aim. There are also some other modes of accidental law-making. However (...) for the time being we will focus on law that is intentionally made, and therefore is capable of having aims. (shrink)
There has been growing interest in, and scholarly attention to, issues and questions that arise within the subject matter domain we may call "human rights theory". See, in particular, Amartya Sen, "Elements of a Theory of Human Rights," 32 Philosophy & Public Affairs 315 (2004); James W. Nickel, Making Sense of Human Rights (rev. ed. 2006); Michael J. Perry, Toward a Theory of Human Rights: Religion, Law, Courts (2007); James Griffin, On Human Rights (2008); Nicholas Wolterstorff, Justice: Rights and Wrongs (...) (2008). This essay - a version of which will appear in a multi-authored collection of essays to be published by Oxford University Press in 2009 - is intended as a contribution to human rights theory. These are the principal questions, or sets of questions, I address in the essay:1. What is the morality of human rights - by which I mean the morality that, according to the International Bill of Human Rights, is the principal warrant for the law of human rights?2. How does the morality of human rights warrant the law of human rights?3. Some human-rights-claims are legal claims, but some are moral claims, and some are both. What does a human-rights-claim of the legal sort mean? A human-rights-claim of the moral sort? And when does it make sense to think of a right that only some human beings have - children, for example - as a human right?4. Is there a plausible secular ground for the morality of human rights?5. At the end of the proverbial day, what difference does it make - why should we care - if there is no plausible secular ground for the morality of human rights?Comments and questions welcome. (shrink)
There is an ongoing debate in the philosophical and jurisprudential literature regarding the nature and possibility of Contract theory. On one hand are those who argue (or assume) that there is, or should be, a single, general, universal theory of Contract Law, one applicable to all jurisdictions and all times. On the other hand are those who assert that Contract theory should be localized to particular times and places, perhaps even with different theories for different types of agreements. This article (...) considers one facet of this debate: evaluating the relevance of the fact that the remedies available for breach of contract can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. This wide variation in remedies for breach of a (contractual) promise is one central difference between promises in morality and enforceable agreements in law. The article asserts that variation of remedies strongly supports the conclusion that there is (and can be) no general, universal theory of Contract Law. (shrink)
This work brings together leading defenders of Natural Law and Liberalism for a series of frank and lively exchanges touching upon critical issues of contemporary moral and political theory. The book is an outstanding example of the fruitful engagement of traditions of thought about fundamental matters of ethics and justice.
In his work, Jules Coleman has held that the rule of recognition, if conceived of as a shared cooperative activity, should be the gateway through which to incorporate moral constraints on the content of law. This analysis, however, leaves unanswered two important questions. For one thing, we do not know when or even why morality becomes a criterion of legality. And, for another thing, we still do not know what conception of morality it is that we are dealing (...) with. In this article, we will attempt to clarify in greater depth what relations there are between the social practice of law and morality. We will thus see how the cooperative nature of social practices imbues law with a moral force, and how this makes it possible to establish a "weak" connection between law and morality: To see this, we will need to single out some basic features of cooperative social practices, thus setting out a suitable framework for the view just mentioned. (shrink)
Does God's existence make a difference to how we explain morality? Mark C. Murphy critiques the two dominant theistic accounts of morality--natural law theory and divine command theory--and presents a novel third view. He argues that we can value natural facts about humans and their good, while keeping God at the centre of our moral explanations. The characteristic methodology of theistic ethics is to proceed by asking whether there are features of moral norms that can be adequately explained (...) only if we hold that such norms have some sort of theistic foundation. But this methodology, fruitful as it has been, is one-sided. God and Moral Law proceeds not from the side of the moral norms, so to speak, but from the God side of things: what sort of explanatory relationship should we expect between God and moral norms given the existence of the God of orthodox theism? Mark C. Murphy asks whether the conception of God in orthodox theism as an absolutely perfect being militates in favour of a particular view of the explanation of morality by appeal to theistic facts. He puts this methodology to work and shows that, surprisingly, natural law theory and divine command theory fail to offer the sort of explanation of morality that we would expect given the existence of the God of orthodox theism. Drawing on the discussion of a structurally similar problem--that of the relationship between God and the laws of nature--Murphy articulates his new account of the relationship between God and morality, one in which facts about God and facts about nature cooperate in the explanation of moral law. (shrink)
Abstract. There is an ongoing debate in the philosophical and jurisprudential literature regarding the nature and possibility of Contract theory. On one hand, are those who argue (or assume) that there is, or should be, a single, general, universal theory of Contract Law, one applicable to all jurisdictions and all times. On the other hand, are those who assert that Contract theory should be localized to particular times and places, perhaps even with different theories for different types of agreements. This (...) article considers one facet of this debate: evaluating the relevance of the fact that the remedies available for breach of contract can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. This wide variation in remedies for breach of a (contractual) promise is one central difference between promises in morality and enforceable agreements in law. The article asserts that variation of remedies strongly supports the conclusion that there is (and can be) no general, universal theory of Contract Law. (shrink)
Neil MacCormick says that his "version of institutional theory" about the law 'is "non positivist", or, if you wish, "post-positivist"'. He is aware, however, that his work could be perfectly labelled, from the point of view of the history of legal and moral thought, as a form of natural law theory, at least by those who adhere to some version of natural law. It is an important merit of MacCormick that, rising above the label walls and wars, his theory of (...) law has taken into account the main insights of the great authors belonging to both traditions, such as Hans Kelsen and Herbert Hart, on the so-called "positivist" side, and some authors in the Thomistic tradition, particularly John Finnis, as well as "the writings of seventeenth and eighteenth century jurists concerning natural jurisprudence and the law of nature", on the so-called "natural law" side. Writing with such openness to all sources and insights, Neil MacCormick, one of the most eminent legal philosophers of our time, does not surprise us when he chooses to end his lifetime's work with an attempt to dig into the ethical foundations of all that he has written on law and politics. Practical Reason in Law and Morality is, in a way, his most significant book. He tackles here the deeper issues that he himself realised were left open and uncertain in his salient works on legal theory. He considered this book as the last one in a quartet on "Law, State, and Practical Reason". The quartet itself has become the culmination of a life devoted to the common good, in academia and in politics, among many other endeavours. Notwithstanding its flaws, I am convinced that Neil MacCormick's last book can be illuminating for all those students, and even professors, who go about doing legal philosophy without ever reading anything antedating Hart's Concept of Law. They tend to be confused by sophisticated forms of scepticism, luxurious discussions on law and morality and metaethics, and all sorts of distrust of truth in practical matters. Hence they will surely benefit from reading how a great legal philosopher of our time, once equally confused but always honestly open to rational deliberation and fair discussion, freed himself of at least half of his misunderstandings, and learned a lot by reading some natural law theorists old and new. (shrink)
Are mysticism and morality compatible or at odds with one another? If mystical experience embraces a form of non-dual consciousness, then in such a state of mind, the regulative dichotomy so basic to ethical discretion would seemingly be transcended and the very foundation for ethical decisions undermined. Venturing Beyond - Law and Morality in Kabbalistic Mysticism is an investigation of the relationship of the mystical and moral as it is expressed in the particular tradition of Jewish mysticism known (...) as the Kabbalah. The particular themes discussed include the denigration of the non-Jew as the ontic other in kabbalistic anthropology and the eschatological crossing of that boundary anticipated in the instituition of religious conversion; the overcoming of the distinction between good and evil in the mystical experience of the underlying unity of all things; divine suffering and the ideal of spiritual poverty as the foundation for transmoral ethics and hypernomian lawfulness. (shrink)
The war on terror is remaking conventional warfare. The protracted battle against a non-state organization, the demise of the confinement of hostilities to an identifiable battlefield, the extensive involvement of civilian combatants, and the development of new and more precise military technologies have all conspired to require a rethinking of the law and morality of war. Just war theory, as traditionally articulated, seems ill-suited to justify many of the practices of the war on terror. The raid against Osama Bin (...) Laden's Pakistani compound was the highest profile example of this strategy, but the issues raised by this technique cast a far broader net: every week the U.S. military and CIA launch remotely piloted drones to track suspected terrorists in hopes of launching a missile strike against them. -/- In addition to the public condemnation that these attacks have generated in some countries, the legal and moral basis for the use of this technique is problematic. Is the U.S. government correct that nations attacked by terrorists have the right to respond in self-defense by targeting specific terrorists for summary killing? Is there a limit to who can legitimately be placed on the list? There is also widespread disagreement about whether suspected terrorists should be considered combatants subject to the risk of lawful killing under the laws of war or civilians protected by international humanitarian law. Complicating the moral and legal calculus is the fact that innocent bystanders are often killed or injured in these attacks. This book addresses these issues. Featuring chapters by an unrivalled set of experts, it discusses all aspects of targeted killing, making it unmissable reading for anyone interested in the implications of this practice. (shrink)
The article investigates the interplay of moral rules in computer simulation. The investigation is based on two situations which are well-known to game theory: the prisoner''s dilemma and the game of Chicken. The prisoner''s dilemma can be taken to represent contractual situations, the game of Chicken represents a competitive situation on the one hand and the provision for a common good on the other. Unlike the rules usually used in game theory, each player knows the other''s strategy. In that way, (...) ever higher levels of reflection are reached reciprocally. Such strategies can be interpreted as moral rules.Artificial morality is related to the discipline of Artificial Life. As in artificial life, the use of genetic algorithms suggests itself. Rules of behaviour split and reunite as chromosome strings do. (shrink)
In debating Patrick Devlin, H. L. A. Hart claimed that the “modern form” of the debate over the legal enforcement of morals centered on the “significance to be attached to the historical fact that certain conduct, no matter what, is prohibited by a positive morality.” This form of the debate was politically important in 1963 in Britain and America, and it remains politically important in these countries today and elsewhere; but it is not the philosophically most interesting form the (...) debate can take. An older form of the debate appealed to natural law or critical morality. It centered on the question of whether political authorities could properly use the criminal law to enforce critical morality, including prohibitions on conduct that was not harmful or disrespectful to others. This paper engages with this older form of the debate. It offers some reasons for thinking that there is a presumption in favor of the view that it is a proper function of the criminal law to enforce critical morality, including that part of critical morality that is not directly concerned with preventing harm or disrespect to others. It then defends this presumption against some arguments recently pressed by Ronald Dworkin. (shrink)
There is a general presumption that the law should be congruent with morality— that is, that the prohibitions and permissions in the law should correspond to the prohibitions and permissions of morality. And indeed in most areas of domestic law, and perhaps especially in the criminal law, the elements of the law do in general derive more or less directly from the requirements of morality. I will argue in this chapter, however, that this correspondence with morality (...) does not and, at present, cannot hold in the case of the international law of war. For various reasons, largely pragmatic in nature, the law of war must be substantially divergent from the morality of war.1 Our understanding of the morality of war has for many centuries been shaped by a tradition of thought known as the theory of the just war. In its earliest manifestations in ancient and medieval thought, this theory emerged from a synthesis of Christian doctrine and a natural law conception of morality. Its tendency was to understand the morality of war as an adaptation to problems of group conflict of the moral principles governing relations among individuals and to see just warfare as a form of punishment for wrongdoing. Its concern was with a rather pure conception of right and wrong that made few concessions to pragmatic considerations and was unwilling to compromise matters of principle for the sake of considerations of consequences. During this classical phase in the history of the theory, the principles of the just war were quite different from the laws of war in their current form. Later, beginning in the sixteenth century but principally during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some juridical writers, seeking to develop a workable account of the law of nations, began to argue for principles governing the practice of war that were more ‘realistic’ in character. These principles were formulated in ways that were more sensitive to pragmatic concerns. This shift in thinking about the normative dimensions of war helped to lay the groundwork for the development and institutionalization of the international law of war from the late nineteenth century to the present.. (shrink)
The following commentaries are responses to the rough drafts of six lectures — the Hourani Lectures—that I delivered at the University of Buffalo in November of 2006. This draft manuscript is being extensively revised and expanded for publication by Oxford University Press as a book called The Morality and Law of War. Even though in January 2007 the book was still both unpolished and incomplete, David Enoch at that time generously organized a workshop at the Law School of the (...) Hebrew University of Jerusalem to discuss its ideas and arguments. George Fletcher chaired the meeting and Re’em Segev, Yuval Shany, and Noam Zohar all presented superb commentaries. The following papers have all grown out of that memorable occasion. (shrink)
John Finnis is a pre-eminent legal, moral and political philosopher. This volume contains over 25 essays by leading international scholars of philosophy and law who critically engage with issues at the heart of Finnis's work.
Lon Fuller’s classic The Morality of Law is an exploration of the basic principles of a legal system: the law should be publicly promulgated, prospective, clear, and general. So deep are these principles, he argued, that too great a deviation from them would not simply create a bad legal system and bad law, but would render the products of such a system undeserving of the name “law” at all. In this essay, I argue that Fuller’s basic principles are not (...) in fact desiderata for all of law, observing that much of private law plainly flouts them; it is unwritten, retroactive, inchoate, and often limited to particular cases. Far from undercutting its status as law or its legitimacy, these attributes have sometimes been regarded as giving the common law its special character as a kind of law. Fuller’s principles are fundamental only given a certain conception of how law functions, what gives lawmakers their authority, and what renders citizens vulnerable to the imposition of liability through the courts. This conception does not fit private law, which has a distinctive inner morality. Understanding the inner morality of private law tells us a great deal about the nature of private law and about the different ways in which morality can be part of law. (shrink)
Do our present circumstances allow us to defend a specific connection (that specific connection) between «legal rules», «moral claims» and «democratic principles» which we may say is granted by an unproblematic presupposition of universality or by an «acultural» experience of modernity? In order to discuss this question, this paper invokes the challenge-visée of a plausible reinvention of Law’s autonomous project (a reinvention which may be capable of critically re-thinking and re-experiencing Law’s constitutive cultural-civilizational originarium in a «limit-situation» such as our (...) own). The discussion is developed by recognising that the claim to universality is not only incompatible with a substantive conception of juridicalness as validity but also sustained with difficulty by a procedural representation of discourse and rationality (a representation which, against its own conclusion-claims, could also be said to be culturally and civilizationally bounded). Not forgetting some specific features of contemporary juridical pluralism—namely that which emerges from the counterpoint between semiotic groups or interpretative communities (and their differently assumed claims of intersemioticity concerning the signifier law)—this train of reflection diagnoses briefly a sequence of complementary main difficulties (as «obstacles» to recognising Law’s demand as an unmistakable cultural project), namely those arising from the formalistic normativistic inheritance (confounding legal autonomy with isolationism), from the challenges and seductions of practical holism (justifying a continuum in which Law’s project loses its sense and autonomy), and also from the familiar debate between exclusive and inclusive versions of positivism and non-positivism (a debate which establishes-consecrates an equivocal counterpoint between Law and Morality). (shrink)
`What is the proper relation of moral and religious beliefs to politics and law, especially in a society that, like the United States, is morally and religiously pluralistic?' In Morality, Politics, and Law, noted constitutional theorist Michael Perry answers this fundamental question, criticizing the vision of constitutional adjudication and defending a more liberal philosophy of constitutional interpretation.