J s mill's principle of liberty is often thought to say that the only good reason for interfering with a person's conduct is that it is harmful to others. An alternative interpretation is defended: that the only good reason for interfering is to prevent harm to others. Harm-Prevention is the aim, But the latter principle allows that conduct affected not be harmful; interference must be calculated to prevent harm to others, Perhaps indirectly. This accords with mill's official statement of his (...) principle, Accommodates his own otherwise troublesome examples of cooperation and good samaritan requirements, And fits as well with the texts. (shrink)
This volume collects David Lyons' well-known essays on Mill's moral theory and includes an introduction which relates the essays to prior and subsequent philosophical developments. Like the author's Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism (Oxford, 1965), the essays apply analytical methods to issues in normative ethics. The first essay defends a refined version of the beneficiary theory of rights against H.L.A. Hart's important criticisms. The central set of essays develops new interpretations of Mill's moral theory with the aim of determining how (...) far rights can be incorporated in a utilitarian framework. They Mill's analysis of moral concepts promises to accommodate the argumentative force of rights, and also provide a significant new reading of Mill's theory of liberty. The last essay argues that the promise of Mill's theory of justice cannot be fulfilled. Utilitarianism is unable to account for crucial features of moral rights, or even for the moral force of legal rights whose existence might be justified on utilitarian grounds. (shrink)
David Lyons challenges us to confront grave injustices committed in the United States, from the colonists' encroachments on Indian lands to slavery and the legacy of racism. He calls upon legal and political theorists to take these social wrongs seriously in their approaches to moral obligation under law and the justification of civil disobedience.
David Lyons is one of the preeminent philosophers of law active in the United States. This volume comprises essays written over a period of twenty years in which Professor Lyons outlines his fundamental views about the nature of law and its relation to morality and justice. The underlying theme of the book is that a system of law has only a tenuous connection with morality and justice. Contrary to those legal theorists who maintain that no matter how bad the law (...) of a community might be, strict conformity to existing law automatically dispenses "formal" justice, Professor Lyons contends that the law must earn the respect that it demands. Moreover, we cannot, as some would suggest, interpret law in a value-neutral manner. Rather courts should interpret statutes, judicial precedents, and constitutional provisions in terms of values that would justify those laws. In this way officials can promote the justifiability of what they do to people in the name of law, and can help the law live up to its moral pretensions. (shrink)
Some forms of ethical relativism seem to endorse strict contradictions. Various forms of relativism are distinguished, And their vulnerability to such charges compared. Means of avoiding incoherence are considered. Relativistic justification seems either innocuous but nonrelativistic or else unintelligible. Relativistic analyses of moral judgments are implausible and seem required for no other purpose than to avoid charges of incoherence.
Although known as the founder of modern utilitarianism and the source of analytical jurisprudence, Bentham today is infrequently read but often caricatured. The present book offers a reinterpretation of Bentham's main philosophical doctrines, his principle of utility and his analysis of law, philosophical doctrines, as they are developed in Bentham's most important works. A new reading is also given to his theory of law, which suggests Bentham's insight, originality, and continued interest for philosophers and legal theorists. First published in 1973, (...) this revised edition contains a new Preface, a revised Bibliography, and two new Indexes, one of Names and one of Subjects, which together replace the original index. (shrink)
What determines whether an action is right or wrong? Morality, Rules, and Consequences: A Critical Reader explores for students and researchers the relationship between consequentialist theory and moral rules. Most of the chapters focus on rule consequentialism or on the distinction between act and rule versions of consequentialism. Contributors, among them the leading philosophers in the discipline, suggest ways of assessing whether rule consequentialism could be a satisfactory moral theory. These essays, all of which are previously unpublished, provide students in (...) moral philosophy with essential material and ask key questions on just what the criteria for an adequate moral theory might be. (shrink)
I. CONSTITUTIONAL ORIGINALISM By “originalism” I mean the familiar approach to constitutional adjudication that accords binding authority to the text of the Constitution or the intentions of its adopters. At least since Marbury, in which Chief Justice Marshall emphasized the significance of our Constitution's being a written document, originalism in one form or another has been a major theme in the American constitutional tradition.
The principle of utility is Bentham's basic test for morals and legislation. But there is room for doubting what that principle is supposed to say. I shall argue that one important element of modern utilitarian doctrines Cannot be found in Bentham's. Some aspects of his views will not be questioned here. He holds, for example, that acts should be appraised by their consequences alone. The effects that count are ‘pleasures’ and ‘pains’, that is, the effects upon human happiness, interest or (...) welfare. (shrink)
An introduction to the philosophy of law, which offers a modern and critical appraisal of all the main issues and problems. This has become a very active area in the last ten years, and one on which philosophers, legal practitioners and theorists and social scientists have tended to converge. The more abstract questions about the nature of law and its relationship to social norms and moral standards are now seen to be directly relevant to more practical and indeed pressing questions (...) about the justification of punishment, civil disobedience, the enforcement of morality, and problems about justice, rights, welfare, and freedom. David Lyons is a shrewd, clear and systematic guide through this tangled area. The book presupposes no formal training in law or philosophy and is intended to serve as a textbook in a range of introductory courses. (shrink)