Why motivation cannot go it alone: Moral education, legal theory and social justice

This paper argues that the primary task of legal theory should be to pursue the responsiveness of a legal system to the moral life of a community. However, the pursuit of such an aim cannot appeal merely or even dominantly to the short-term motivational structures of individuals - as is dominantly the case in contemporary legal theory. What is required, instead, is appeal to long-term learning structures. This paper introduces the notion of long-term learning structures by reference to the work of John Dewey. It supplements Dewey's account by reference to two further principles of moral education: first, developing the recognition of vulnerability, and second, fostering respect for difference. Having provided an account of moral education, the paper goes on to consider its relationship to the pursuit of a socially just legal system. The paper does so primarily by reference to the work of Philip Selznick and Roger Cotterrell, calling in essence for the revival of pedagogically-informed communitarian jurisprudence.
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