Legal Hypocrisy

Ratio Juris 32 (1):2-20 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Accusations of hypocrisy in law and politics typically invoke hypocrisy as a personal failing. This locution misses the much more dangerous way laws and legal institutions themselves can be hypocritical. Hypocrisy can be equally revealed when an institution not only deceives another but acts against its avowed values or does not act in ways required by the values professed. Thus, legal actors, institutions, and norms can, in their institutional role, act against the values they avow, displaying legal hypocrisy. By avowing attractive values while acting in ways that undermine those values, laws and legal institutions victimize citizens to achieve goals that could not be openly justified. In doing so, hypocritical laws not only harm their victims but, by obscuring the injury, undermine the victim’s ability to call the law into account. Hypocrisy is important to highlight precisely because it suffocates the voice of its victims. Because hypocrisy takes advantage of a person while only pretending to justify one’s actions, hypocrisy not only harms citizens but treats them with a form of contempt. The vicious irony is that hypocrisy in the law not only harms its “direct victims” but ultimately undermines the very rule of law.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,391

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Hypocrisy and Moral Seriousness.Roger Crisp & Christopher J. Cowton - 1994 - American Philosophical Quarterly 31 (4):343 - 349.
Hypocrisy: A Democratic Syndrome.John J. Clancy Jr - 1971 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 46 (3):415-425.
The Commitment Account of Hypocrisy.Benjamin Rossi - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):553-567.
Pure Hypocrisy.Tony Lynch & A. Fisher - 2012 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 19 (1):32-43.
The Significance of Al Gore’s Purported Hypocrisy.Scott F. Aiken - 2009 - Environmental Ethics 31 (1):111-112.
Hypocrisy: What Counts?Mark Alicke, Ellen Gordon & David Rose - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology (5):1-29.
Hypocrisy and self‐deception.Daniel Statman - 1997 - Philosophical Psychology 10 (1):57-75.
Riots and Reactions: Hypocrisy and Disaffiliation?Nicki Hedge & Alison Mackenzie - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 49 (3):329-346.


Added to PP

14 (#733,349)

6 months
1 (#451,971)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

The Moral Burdens of Police Wrongdoing.Eric J. Miller - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (2):219-269.
Moral Failure and the Law.John Eekelaar - 2020 - Ratio Juris 33 (4):368-379.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Consciousness Explained.William G. Lycan - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):424.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.

View all 33 references / Add more references