Law, Democracy and Moral Disagreement


in In Defense of Natural Law

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780198267713
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683343 | DOI:
Law, Democracy and Moral Disagreement

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This chapter considers two particularly noteworthy recent efforts: Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson’s Democracy and Disagreement: Why Moral Conflict Cannot Be Avoided in Politics, and What Should Be Done About It, and Cass Sunstein’s Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict. These books take the problem of moral disagreement seriously and treat it in an ideologically non-partisan manner. The chapter examines some aspects of the debate over slavery in antebellum America and refines and extends Gutmann and Thompson’s analysis of the stance citizens should take toward each other when they find themselves in profound moral disagreement over issues of justice and basic human rights.

Keywords: moral disagreement; slavery; justice; basic human rights; antebellum America

Chapter.  9246 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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