New Legal Moralism: Some Strengths and Challenges

Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (2):215-232 (2010)
The aim of this paper is to critically discuss the plausibility of legal moralism with an emphasis on some central and recent versions. First, this paper puts forward and defends the thesis that recently developed varieties of legal moralism promoted by Robert P. George, John Kekes and Michael Moore are more plausible than Lord Devlin's traditional account. The main argument for this thesis is that in its more modern versions legal moralism is immune to some of the forceful challenges made to Devlin by Hart, Dworkin and Feinberg among others. Second, however, the paper challenges the new generation of legal moralists and suggests some areas for further development. Although Devlin's position has been scrutinized thoroughly in the literature on the philosophy of law, there has, to my knowledge, been no comparable, systematic critique of these different proponents of legal moralism.
Keywords Criminal law  Criminalization  Devlin  John Kekes  Legal moralism  Legal theory  Michael Moore  Philosophy of law  Robert P. George
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-010-9094-5
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Natural Law and Natural Rights.John Finnis - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Harm to Others.Joel Feinberg - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):295-298.
Life's Dominion.Melissa Lane & Ronald Dworkin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (176):413.

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What is Legal Moralism?Thomas Søbirk Petersen - 2011 - SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 12 (1):80-88.
Was Ellen Wronged?Stephen P. Garvey - 2013 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 7 (2):185-216.

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