From Ethics to Law
FOUNDATIONS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: ETHICS, LAW, CULTURE, AND THE PHYSICAL LIMITS, Lars Rydén, ed., Vol. 9, pp. 27-31, The Baltic University, 2009
6 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2011 Last revised: 30 Sep 2015
Date Written: June 15, 2011
This paper was written for a course on sustainable development of the Baltic University. The central theme is the identification of a number of factors that should be taken into account when a we are considering to enforce a morality (e.g., a morality of sustainability) with the use of legal instruments.
In order to remedy the shortcomings of a mere reliance on voluntary contributions by morally motivated citizens, law can certainly help to create a sustainable society. At least four (partly overlapping) clusters of factors can be discerned that determine the supporting function of law: information factors, financial and practical factors, coordination factors and moral factors.
However, law is certainly not always an effective and justified instrument of public policy. Some issues that have to be considered before implementing moral values through legislation are: the need for legal intervention, the availability of alternatives, the fields of law, the integrity, role and characteristics of law, the effects of the law and the normative limits of the law.
Keywords: morality, ethics, law, legislation, legal enforcement of morals
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