Free Choice, Practical Reason and Fitness for the Rule of Law


in In Defense of Natural Law

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780198267713
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683343 | DOI:
Free Choice, Practical Reason and Fitness for the Rule of Law

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This chapter offers an account of why, under natural law principles, the ideal of the rule of law is so central. The chapter agrees with the late Lon L. Fuller that there are important moral reasons for rulers to respect the rule of law requirement, although the specific content—its demand for clarity, nonretroactivity, promulgation, etc.—is largely procedural. The human ability to understand and act on reasons, which itself both presupposes and is presupposed by the capacity for free choice, entails, as Neil MacCormick suggests, that people are due the respect they are shown when rulers govern according to the principles of the rule of law. Although respect for the rule of law is not all that justice requires of those exercising political authority, it is nevertheless a requirement of justice.

Keywords: rule of law; moral reasons; free choice; Neil MacCormick; justice

Chapter.  4674 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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