Questions tagged [philosophy-of-law]

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44
votes
6answers
14k views

Is there a term for the belief that “if it's legal, it's moral”?

Sometimes I hear arguments that seem to appeal to the fact that something is morally permissible because it is legally permitted. For example: Abortion is moral because it's legally permitted. ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

What fallacy dismisses criticism of a bad law with “just don't break it”?

Let's say someone is criticizing the government for instituting some draconian policy, and/or for persecuting people for doing something minor. And the response is:"Just don't do it and you'll be fine"...
16
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1answer
750 views

Is Nozick's Criticism of Rawls correct?

When Nozick says distributive justice 'marks a shift from the classical liberal notion of self ownership to a notion of property rights in others', is this a fair criticism of Rawls and distributive ...
14
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7answers
42k views

What are prominent attacks of Rawls' “veil of ignorance” argument? Which liberal philosophers have advanced it?

In John Rawls' A Theory of Justice, he argues that morally, society should be constructed politically as if we were all behind a veil of ignorance; that is, the rules and precepts of society should be ...
13
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6answers
694 views

Is there a demarcation problem for religions?

So far, all of the philosophy of religion I have read focuses on the questions of God's existence and on the problem of evil. It seems to me that just as important would be the question of what a ...
12
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14answers
9k views

Why are legal and moral responsibilities said to be different?

It seems in most cases which laws are adopted depends on what ethical views legislators hold. There might be counterexamples when a lawmaker does not adopt laws reflecting own moral views. But I do ...
12
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5answers
993 views

If the “right to life” is denied in abortion, isn't it also denied in the use of the death penalty?

Many people who support death penalty are also against abortion, and vice-versa. What is the moral difference between the two? In both cases, isn't the "right to life" of another being violated? ...
11
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2answers
339 views

Is it ethical for governments to compel their citizens to lead healthy lives?

Dr Peter Agre(MD) recently said this at the Lindau Meeting (Original full text from Ars Technica) Agre also noted that many of the biggest public health problems are a result of lifestyle ...
10
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1answer
1k views

What are the fundamental philosophical questions reflected in the American legal system?

I am interested in the link between philosophy and legal systems, in particular the American legal system (and English heritage) and the underlying ideas in play. At a high-level, it seems to me ...
9
votes
7answers
5k views

Should attempted murder be a lesser crime than murder?

It is often the case that a person convicted of attempted murder receives a lesser punishment than if they had been successful in committing the crime. As far as I am aware, there are four main ...
9
votes
1answer
403 views

Which if any contemporary philosophers have written about the potential negative effects of “reverse” discrimination?

In many cases when I talk about how I think, I find it useful to abstract the messy real sources of inspiration into a pure dialogue with my friend Matt. In this case, Matt and I were talking about ...
7
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8answers
3k views

What is to be understood by the phrase “Israel's right to exist”? [closed]

As someone who is interested in the Israeli-Palestinian question one phrase that comes up in the pro-Israeli position is the insistence that the Palestinians recognise '"Israel's right to exist". (In ...
7
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7answers
1k views

What philosophers argued that human rights can be forfeited?

I'm writing an argumentative paper on a controversial topic, and the stance I want to take is that there are certain actions that an individual can take (such as terrorism, child molestation) that ...
7
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3answers
3k views

Should governments have the power to limit the citizen's rights during wartime?

Should the government be allowed to limit their citizens rights during wartime or other hard times that the country is going through? What if it was an apocalyptic event that everyone knew they would ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Can any consensual activity be wrong?

What are the philosophical arguments / frameworks that view at least seemingly consensual activities (e.g incest, killing (assisted suicide or dueling), mutilation, gay sex ) involving one or more ...
7
votes
1answer
282 views

German philosophers on (french) revolution

I'm reading an essay written by the Italian philosopher Remo Bodei, where he examines the thoughts of some German philosopher on the french revolution and revolutions in general. According to him, ...
6
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8answers
9k views

When is it right to break the rules? [closed]

Not really an history question but the ethics/philosophy question came about while thinking of history. Lincoln violated the constitution a few times and although he's universally recognized as a ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it moral to obey the law?

To be clear, I am not asking if laws are moral, or even a good approximation for a moral system. We understand that there can be moral laws and immoral laws. For example, the law prohibiting murder is ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

A Marxist Theory of Justice?

I am stuck in a vast amount of papers concerning Marx's view of justice, written in the 70s, 80s and 90s, disputing and contradicting each other. With my current knowledge of Marx, it is sometimes ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Is unauthorized downloading of music stealing?

On the one hand, when you download music you are merely making a copy of something. You aren't depriving someone of a physical object. You aren't really taking anything. On the other hand, when you ...
6
votes
1answer
95 views

What is this System of Right that consistently shows up in Foucault's work?

In his January 7, 1976 lecture, Foucault says: The system of right, the domain of law, are permanent agents of these relations of domination... Right should be viewed not in terms of a legitimacy ...
6
votes
2answers
296 views

How can opposing policies under the Particular-Universal Dualism still function well together?

Source: pp 167-168, Thinking Like a Lawyer: An Introduction to Legal Reasoning (2010, 2 ed) by Kenneth J. Vandevelde. Can someone please explain and demystify (make more intuitive) the paradox per 4?...
5
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12answers
6k views

Innocent until proven guilty - why?

What is the philosophical basis for the notion that somebody is "innocent until proven guilty"? This seems to imply that we can confidently assert that a person is innocent until proof to the ...
5
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4answers
14k views

Who was first to say that justice is “to give each his due”?

May I know which Greek or Roman philosopher is the first to define justice as "giving each his due"? And what arguments have he put forward to justify this definition?
4
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2answers
193 views

Is it my right to choose to violate the law?

Is it my right to choose not to follow the law, provided I accept to bear the consequences? Or should I be forced to follow it at all times? The point is not whether it's right to violate the law ...
4
votes
2answers
134 views

“Intellectual property” of publications

Intellectual property is a broad and ill-defined notion so I want to be clear what I am talking about. I am not talking about someone taking credit for another's published work, surely authors should ...
4
votes
2answers
135 views

Violation of everyday rights or “whose right to what did I violate today?”

The idea of rights seems to be strongly, if not inextricably, connected to the idea of duties. As far as I remember in philosophy of law this is referred to as "reciprocity". If I must do something, ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Is it ever acceptable to go by the principle of “guilty until proven innocent”?

I have been following the news about the current US administration reversing the Obama administration's policies on campus sexual assault. The two opposing positions can be summed as following: (A)...
4
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7answers
1k views

If one is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, why wrongful convictions are so common?

Is it because we don't get the actual meaning of "proven" so we implement the concept in a faulty way ? Is it because "reasonable" varies too much from person to person ? Is it because the ...
4
votes
4answers
182 views

Viewpoints of how the law should apply to authorities

When it comes to the question as to what extent authorities in a state should be bound by the laws of the state (which they often make themselves), there seem to be two main viewpoints, one of them ...
4
votes
2answers
330 views

Is the age of Tristan Kurilla (10 year old charged with homicide) relevant to his trial

One of the top news stories today is that of Tristan Kurilla, a fifth-grader from Pennsylvania, who is being charged with criminal homicide after beating a woman to death. Kurilla is currently being ...
3
votes
3answers
28k views

What's the difference between a 'duty' and 'obligation'?

Background I enrolled in a class, The Philosophy of Human Rights. The authors of the course readings never use 'duty' and 'obligation' interchangeably, so I suspect that the terms may have distinct ...
3
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7answers
288 views

Innocent until proven guilty [duplicate]

Why is it right? And why is guilty until proven innocent wrong? I think I have some kind of basic understanding but hopefully can learn more from your contributions.
3
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3answers
681 views

Why would all law be positive law?

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in his 1897 The Path of Law, argues that law does not relate to objective reality but is created by whatever judges decide. Thus, according to him, all law is positive law, ...
3
votes
3answers
98 views

Does criminal law have different rules for “evidence” than general science?

It looks to me like (at least here in USA) the court of law does not always require empirical evidence to sentence someone to death. Rather it seems that the person can be sentenced as long as there ...
3
votes
5answers
601 views

Is it possible to define (legally-useful) inalienable natural rights without a deity?

Here's my understanding of natural rights: Natural rights are those rights inherent to a being. Those rights are inalienable if they may not be overridden by social contract. Without some sort of ...
3
votes
3answers
938 views

10 : 1 - Blackstone's Principle

So, Blackstone's law states that 1 innocent man going to jail is worse than 10 guilty men being set free. This principle seems to be a fundamental principle for all Western governments. I'm ...
3
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2answers
803 views

How does Kant's absolute obligation to obey the law square with existence of unfair laws?

According to Corlett's "Is There a Moral Duty to Obey the Law?" It is a self-contradiction, Kant argues, for the law to contain within itself a law permitting citizens to ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

What philosophical books criticizing secular morality are available?

I'm interested in a reading list of critics of secular morality. What authors and books are there on the subject? Can be a criticism of consequentialism, hedonism, utilitarianism, or simply a general ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

Collecting any formalisations of morality

I'm collecting formalizations of "morality" of any philosophical school. (My special wishes is anything for Kant, which I don't understand and for whom I didn't find anything seriously formal, at ...
3
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1answer
671 views

What are Kant's Permissive Laws?

My new term brings new questions, this time concerning Kant's "Perpetual Peace" (you can read most of it here). The preliminary articles can be differentiated: All of them are prohibitive rules, but ...
3
votes
1answer
238 views

Is the right to an abortion the same as the right to kill human being? [closed]

If a fetus could be safely and simply removed from a woman and put in an artificial womb where it could grow normally, would a woman have a right to kill it instead?
2
votes
2answers
101 views

Why do the moral constraints upon law exculpate, not inculpate?

Why "blame without legal judgment", but "no judgment without blame"? What do these even mean? I never studied philosophy. Can someone kindly explain like I'm 5 the emboldened ...
2
votes
4answers
458 views

When should a state have a right to prohibit abortion?

I am asking about the the relation of law to morality. Specifically my question centres of the intersection of law and morality on the question of abortion. My personal position on the subject of ...
2
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3answers
135 views

What's wrong with the following argument regarding temporal limits?

Let us suppose there is a limit: you cannot buy something after 10:00PM. From the position of law, of course "cannot" must be taken directly. But from the position of common thinking, people are less ...
2
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2answers
69 views

Formal logic on rightfulness

Is there a kind of logic that could easily formulate this kind of statement: X has the right to do Y? Or more generally: An object that has the property X (or in a set X) could also choose to have ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Scenario in which society is better off by someone breaking a rule?

Suppose there is some rule in some social setting/scenario where society (or a relevant smaller set of people) is/are better off when some people violate it. Specifically, we have that (where '>' ...
2
votes
1answer
225 views

Laws are made for humans, but does everyone classify as a human? [closed]

By law, even the worst criminals may be pardoned on grounds of mercy etc. But if an animal attacks or even kills a human, it can be put down. My question is: Shouldn't there be 'rules' to determine ...
2
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3answers
546 views

How would Kant decide whether a law is ethical?

From what I understand, I know that Kant believes that the purpose of government is to "[hinder] a hindrance to freedom" that people could impose on others. Additionally, in a Kantian government ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

Philosophical terms for the different kinds of acceptance of a rule

I'm trying to write a philosophy essay and I'm trying to distinguish between three different ways in which agents may accept or believe in a rule: That a rational agent seeking the best outcome (for ...