Abstract
It is a pity that the question about the proper purpose of law has so often been formulated in terms of ‘the enforcement of morals’. Not only is that issue highly charged with emotion, but the sense of the expression is unclear and, taken in any ordinary sense, its importance is marginal. What Lord Devlin seems chiefly to be arguing, when he supports the enforcement of morals, is that there are in any society certain central institutions which receive and deserve protection by law and that without such protection the society in question would disintegrate. His examples in our own society are monogamy and private property. It is true that these institutions are closely bound up with parts of our morality in two different ways: certain moral prohibitions are defined in terms of them, e.g. adultery and theft; a host of obligations is associated with them upon whose general acceptance and discharge their continuance depends. But it is only in an extended sense that one could describe the institutions themselves as parts of the common morality. It is possible, therefore, to hold that the law may properly be used to protect such institutions without necessarily taking the further step of maintaining that their protection requires and justifies legal prohibition of acts which offend against the associated morality. Professor Hart states this position clearly : ‘What is essential and to be preserved is the essential core. On this footing it would be an open and empirical question whether any particular moral rule or veto, e.g. on homosexuality, adultery or fornication, is so organically connected with the central core that its maintenance and preservation is required as a vital outwork or bastion.’
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0080443600000169
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,410
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

Intermittent Institutions.Adrian Vermeule - 2011 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 10 (4):420-444.
Integrity and Self-Protection.Carolyn McLeod - 2004 - Journal of Social Philosophy 35 (2):216–232.
Fundamental Rights: An Unsettling EU Competence.Elise Muir - 2014 - Human Rights Review 15 (1):25-37.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-23

Total views
15 ( #634,182 of 2,370,645 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #66,939 of 2,370,645 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes