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Law, Liberty and Morality by HLA Hart
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Law, Liberty and Morality (edition 1963)

by HLA Hart

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1563120,312 (3.63)1
This incisive book deals with the use of the criminal law to enforce morality, in particular sexual morality, a subject of particular interest and importance since the publication of the Wolfenden Report in 1957. Professor Hart first considers John Stuart Mill's famous declaration: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community is to prevent harm to others." During the last hundred years this doctrine has twice been sharply challenged by two great lawyers: Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, the great Victorian judge and historian of the common law, and Lord Devlin, who both argue that the use of the criminal law to enforce morality is justified. The author examines their arguments in some detail, and sets out to demonstrate that they fail to recognize distinction of vital importance for legal and political theory, and that they espouse a conception of the function of legal punishment that few would now share.… (more)
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Title:Law, Liberty and Morality
Authors:HLA Hart
Info:Stanford U.P., 1963.
Collections:Your library
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Law, Liberty, and Morality by H. L. A. Hart

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Both human misery and restrictions on human freedom are burdens, so enforcement of good by any means, including punishment, requires justification. That the actual institutions of society are open to criticism is accepted by asking such a question, is it justifiable to use punishment OR ANY means to enforce morality (beyond rational presentation, conversation, and 'suasion'), and that is what 'critical morality' (or 'critical ethics') does. Is it ever defensible to enforce prudentialism, or the duty of individual responsibility? That, too, is a critical issue in both public planning and human altruism for without compliance, agreement to and buy-in with the distributed individuals' role in doing the right thing - and doing right by oneself and others, how can public duties towards the population at large make rational sense whatsoever. These issues, indeed, are being debated - though quite incoherently - in the public media during this election period. ( )
  vegetarian | Jul 16, 2012 |
The start of the Hart, Devlin controversy.
  mdstarr | Sep 11, 2011 |
The start of the Hart, Devlin controversy.
  muir | Nov 27, 2007 |
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