Positive Law and Moral Autonomy

Neil MacCormick

in Institutions of Law

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780198267911
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191714832 | DOI:

Series: Law, State, and Practical Reason

 Positive Law and Moral Autonomy

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Morality is differentiated from law above all in being normative but not institutional. According to one approach, morality has the important character of enshrining and depending upon the autonomy of moral agents. This then indicates a fundamental distinction between morality and law, even though both focus often on essentially similar questions. This chapter presents an argument to this effect.

Keywords: positive character of law; morality; heteronomy; interpretation; argumentation

Chapter.  9695 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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