Against Moral Disestablishment

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI:
Against Moral Disestablishment

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There are some moral values which ought to be enforced in law. The legitimacy of using laws to moral ends has been a much disputed point in modern times. This chapter is about the question of whether laws should be used for the enforcement of moral values. The starting-point for discussion of this question is to recognize that it is itself a question of morality, and rather more specifically a question of political morality. For it is a question about the right exercise of the public powers vested in agencies of state — legislatures, governments, judges, police, and prosecutors. In the rest of this chapter, first, the text expounds the best case for the principle of moral disestablishment; secondly, it shows why it seems to be untenable; and finally, it suggests an alternative principle of limited moral establishment.

Keywords: moral values; morality; public powers; legislatures; governments; judges; moral disestablishment; moral establishment

Chapter.  7962 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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