Moralistic Liberalism and Legal Moralism


in In Defense of Natural Law

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780198267713
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683343 | DOI:
Moralistic Liberalism and Legal Moralism

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This chapter aims to meet the challenge Feinberg presents (especially in Harmless Wrongdoing, the fourth and final volume of The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law) to those of us who reject the liberal view. The chapter tries to show that Feinberg’s argument begs key questions against proponents of ‘the legal enforcement of morals’ by presupposing the truth of certain moral judgments which, however widely shared by liberals, non-liberals typically reject. The chapter also gives a response to an important and highly original argument Feinberg advances in an effort to show that natural law theorists and other traditional moralists cannot square their retributivism with the punishment of ‘victimless’ immoralities.

Keywords: Feinberg; liberal view; legal enforcement; morals; retributivism; victimless immoralities

Chapter.  6705 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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