Philosophy of Law

Today we had our first and last class on Philosophy of law in core practical ethics. We centered mostly on the hart-fuller debate, which is about whether law is in itself moral or amoral. I find this distinction meaningless, because even if the positivists are able to give a complete account of Law without reference to “good” law, they still admit the need to evaluate law as good and bad from a moral stance outside the theory. In other words, what is law is one thing, whether one ought obey the law, quite another. Since the modern natural law theorists are undecided as to what morality one ought use, they simply claim that it makes no sense to call something a law if it isn’t at least in some minimal sense, a good law. The real difference is simply what one believes to be a complete account of legality – does legality have in itself a notion of goodness?

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