Citations (3)



Legal Moralism and Liberalism

Jeffrie G. Murphy

Arizona State University College of Law


Arizona Law Review, Vol. 37, p. 73, 1995

This article examines the relationship of, and potential conflicts within, modern liberalism which proceeds from the starting place of the harm principle, retributivism and fundamental rights constitutionalism. This position holds that consensual action that does not harm another need not be punished. Such a system differs from a legal moralist position, which posits that there may be certain actions that, while not harming any other individuals, may still be wrong and deserving of punishment. These conflicting positions were best represented by the Hart-Devlin Debate. While the legal moralist position has been discounted for years, this article resurrects it and shows that this argument should not be dismissed quite so easily, and in its resurrection offers liberalism a useful critique of some of its own inherent contradictions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: Legal Moralism, Hart-Devlin Debate, Criminal Law

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Date posted: August 27, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Jeffrie G., Legal Moralism and Liberalism (1995). Arizona Law Review, Vol. 37, p. 73, 1995. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1462841

Contact Information

Jeffrie G. Murphy (Contact Author)
Arizona State University College of Law ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
(480) 965-5856 (Phone)
(480) 965-2427 (Fax)
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