Should Law Track Morality?

Criminal Justice Ethics, Vol. 36. No. 2, pp. 205-223, 2017

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 17-46

38 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2017 Last revised: 29 Nov 2017

See all articles by Re'em Segev

Re'em Segev

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 13, 2017

Abstract

Does the moral status of an action provide in itself a non-instrumental, pro tanto reason for a corresponding legal status – a reason that applies regardless of whether the law promotes a value that is independent of the law, such as preventing wrongdoing or promoting distributive or retributive justice? While the relation between morality and law is a familiar topic, this specific question is typically not considered explicitly. Yet it seems to be controversial and each of the contrasting answers to this question has some appeal. The article highlights and considers this question. it concludes that the answer is negative: there is no necessary relation between morality and law in this respect. Rather, there is a reason in favor of incorporating morality into the law only when this incorporation promotes a moral value that is independent of the law.

Keywords: Morality and Law, Instrumental and Non-instrumental value, wrongdoing, utility, justice

Suggested Citation

Segev, Re'em, Should Law Track Morality? (October 13, 2017). Criminal Justice Ethics, Vol. 36. No. 2, pp. 205-223, 2017; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 17-46. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3052463

Re'em Segev (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://en.law.huji.ac.il/people/reem-segev

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