'Introduction,' to John Witte, Jr., et al., eds., The Impact of the Law on Character Formation, Ethical Education, and the Communication of Values in Late Modern Pluralistic Societies
“Introduction,” to John Witte, Jr., et al., eds., The Impact of the Law on Character Formation, Ethical Education, and the Communication of Values in Late Modern Pluralistic Societies (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt GmbH, 2021), 15-30
13 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2021
Date Written: 2021
This is an introduction to an interdisciplinary and international study of whether, how, and where laws (variously defined) teach values and shape moral character in late modern liberal societies. All sixteen authors of these studies recognize the essential value of state law in fostering peace, security, health, education, charity, trade, democracy, constitutionalism, justice, and human rights, among many other moral goods. But they also recognize the grave betrayals of and by law in supporting fascism, slavery, apartheid, genocide, persecution, violence, racism, and other forms of immorality and injustice. The authors thus call for state laws that set a basic civil morality of duty for society but also guarantee robust freedoms that protect private individuals and private groups to cultivate a higher morality of aspiration.
Keywords: Law, Religion, Law and Religion, law and morality, character formation, state law, church law, customary law, constitutional law, criminal law, legal profession, legal development, morality and duty, morality of aspiration
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