Third, not all morality is enshrined in law because law is in a sense"incomplete". Many unfair and wrong business practices are not anticipatedand therefore not made illegal until someone invents and uses them in away that clearly mistreats others. These practices are wrong and immoralfrom inception, but not illegal until law "catches up" to them. In a sensemorality is "complete" and applies to all acts, but the law typically is"incomplete" and only applies to behaviors legislation has already addressed,or that the courts can interpret to have been addressed by implicationin existing law. Law has to be "invented" or manufactured; morality onlyhas to be recognized. And in the creating of specific laws with specificwording, loopholes creep in because it is difficult to predetermine andspecify those and only those acts intended to be covered. Morality doesnot have loopholes. It is probably impossible to make a complete set oflaws that anticipate, enumerate, fully describe, and forbid every possiblespecific wrong behavior.
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There are various theories on what the relationship of law and morals should be. The first theory is natural law, which is based on morality. This states that there is a higher law to which laws must conform and one should disregard an immoral law, unless doing so would lead to social unrest. Another theory is positivism, which holds a more scientific view of the law and states that if legislation has been correctly made it should be obeyed even if it is immoral. The Hart/Devlin Debate followed the publication of the Wolfenden report in 1957.
In this essay, we have seen that morality and law are in some cases exclusive of each other, related in others. Still further, each of these in some situations can overpower the other due to societal norms, religion, etc. Whatever the case, in conclusion, one point has become abundantly clear based upon this research- morality cannot always be legislated, nor will morality always make the best laws. Perhaps the issue of freedom, which began the essay, is a fitting final word- without freedom, the human race suffers, but with it, suffering can also become rampant. It is the responsibility of the people of the world to exercise freedom-with restraint.
Law and Morality Essays | Law Essays
This essay is an attempt to cast some light on what the relationshipis and ought to be between law and morality. Given that some laws are immoral,that some laws reasonably are neutral with regard to morality, and thatthere are institutional limitations to enforcing some aspects of morality,the interesting question should be, not what the relationship is betweenlaw and morality, but what it ought to be.
Law and Morality Essay Examples - Sample Essays
A full account of our principles of action would be an endless theme. But as it is proposed to confine the present short essay to the laws which govern social life, we shall have no occasion to inquire into any principles of action, but what are directed to others; dropping those which have self alone for their object. And in this inquiry, we set out with the following question, In what sense are we to hold a principle of universal benevolence, as belonging to human nature? This question is of importance in the science of morals: for, as observed above, universal benevolence cannot be a duty, if we be not antecedently promp[t]ed to it by a natural principle. When we consider a single man, abstracted from all circumstances and all connections, we are not conscious of any benevolence to him; we feel nothing within us that prompts us to advance his happiness. If one be agreeable at first sight and attract any degree of affection, it is owing to looks, manners, or behaviour. And for evidence of this we are as apt to be disgusted at first sight, as to be pleased. Man is by nature a shy and timorous animal. Every new object gives an impression of fear, till upon better acquaintance it is discovered to be harmless. Thus an infant clings to its nurse, upon the sight of a new face; and this natural dread is not removed but by experience. If every human creature did produce affection in every other at first sight, children, by natural instinct, would be fond of strangers. But no such instinct discovers itself. The fondness of a child is confined to the nurse, the parents, and those who are most about it; till by degrees it opens to a sense of other connections. This argument may be illustrated by a low, but apt instance. Dogs have by nature an affection for the human species; and puppies run to the first man they see, show marks of fondness, and play about his feet. There is no such general fondness of man to man by nature. Certain circumstances are always required to produce and call it forth. Distress indeed never fails to beget sympathy. The misery of the most unknown gives us pain, and we are prompted by nature to afford relief. But when there is nothing to call forth our sympathy; where there are no peculiar circumstances to interest us or beget a connection, we rest in a state of indifference, and are not conscious of wishing either good or ill to the person. Those moralists therefore who require us to lay aside all partial affection and to act upon a principle of equal benevolence to all men, require us to act upon a principle, which has no place in our nature.
Law and Morality - Essay Samples
Our nature, as far as concerns action, is made up of appetites and passions which move us to act, and of the moral sense by which these appetites and passions are governed. The moral sense is not intended to be the first mover: but it is an excellent second, by the most authoritative of all motives, that of duty. Nature is not so rigid to us her favourite children, as to leave our conduct upon the motive of duty solely. A more masterly and kindly hand is visible in the architecture of man. We are impelled to motion by the very constitution of our nature; and to prevent our being carried too far, or in a wrong direction, conscience is set as at the helm. That such is our nature, may be made evident from induction. Were conscience alone, in any case, to be the sole principle of action, it might be expected to be so in matters of justice, of which we have the strongest sense as our indispensable duty. We find however justice not to be an exception from the general plan. For is not love of justice a principle of action common to all men; and is not affection between parents and children equally so, as well as gratitude, veracity, and every primary virtue? These principles give the first impulse, which is finely seconded by the influence and authority of conscience. It may therefore be safely pronounced, that no action is a duty, to the performance of which we are not prompted by some natural motive or principle. To make such an action our duty, would be to lay down a rule of conduct contrary to our nature; or that has no foundation in our nature. This is a truth little attended to by those who have given us systems of natural laws. No wonder they have gone astray. Let this truth be kept close in view, and it will put an end to many a controversy about these laws. If, for example, it be laid down as a primary law of nature, That we are strictly bound to advance the good of all, regarding our own interest no farther than as it makes a part of the general happiness; we may safely reject such a law, unless it be made appear, that there is a principle of benevolence in man prompting him to pursue the happiness of all. To found this disinterested scheme wholly upon the moral sense, would be a vain attempt. The moral sense, as above observed, is our guide only, not our mover. Approbation or disapprobation of those actions, to which, by some natural principle, we are antecedently directed, is all that can result from it. If it be laid down on the other hand, That we ought to regard ourselves only in all our actions; and that it is folly, if not vice, to concern ourselves for others; such a law can never be admitted, unless upon the supposition that self-love is our only principle of action.