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Law’s Autonomy and Moral Reason

Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, Mithras House, Lewes Road, Brighton BN2 4AT, UK
Received: 10 October 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 4 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract

This paper intends to set out an argument to Legal Idealism and a thesis that holds law and morality as necessarily connected. My focus is on deconstructing the Positivist argument to the Autonomy Thesis and beginning to reconstruct it through the application of morality to law’s autonomous authority. My aim, ultimately, is to demonstrate how, through the concept of law, practical reason might explain the related (and overlapping) notions of legitimacy, authority, and the obligation to obey through the necessary connection of law and morality. That is, I intend to demonstrate that morality both survives and remains identifiable (transparently) following the process of metamorphosis into institutionalised practical reasoning. If this is so, the authority of and obligation to law is simultaneously a form of morally rational obligation. In the response to the Positivist argument that moral values are incommensurate, I will show that this commensurability can be determined ‘artificially’ by a system of institutionalised reasoning (i.e., the law); this is to say, if I can show that the Legal Positivist argument is left incomplete without some explanation of moral values underpinning it, I need not to show that a specific, defensible moral truth or principle is required, but that an artificial weighting of abstract moral principles is sufficient View Full-Text
Keywords: Positivism; Natural Law; Legal Theory; Legal Idealism; Gewirth; Morality; Authority of Law Positivism; Natural Law; Legal Theory; Legal Idealism; Gewirth; Morality; Authority of Law
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Clayton Thompson, J. Law’s Autonomy and Moral Reason. Laws 2019, 8, 6.

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