The Moral Criticism of Law

The Moral Criticism of Law

The Moral Criticism of Law

The Moral Criticism of Law

Excerpt

This book is intended to afford students and the general public an introduction to the philosophy of law. Accordingly, I try to present here much of the basic material with which any beginning student of the subject should become familiar. A glossary is supplied to clarify and define those terms unfamiliar to the beginning student in philosophy or law which are not sufficiently defined contextually.

This book will not present a summary of established conclusions, as one might present in an introduction to organic chemistry or the like. No such established conclusions exist in the philosophy of law. Nor will this book merely summarize standard positions taken and typical arguments made by legal philosophers, although many of these will be discussed. Rather, I intend here both to introduce the reader to the subject matter of the philosophy of law and to do philosophy in this area. Thus, this work is an essay in the basic concerns of the philosophy of law, giving expression to my own views within the context of a general introduction to the subject.

The book is structured in this way for reasons fundamental to the aims of philosophical reflection. Philosophy is essentially concerned not with the results of reflection, but with the process of reflection about fundamental conceptual questions in a precise and reasoned way. An introduction to a branch of philosophy should, therefore, not merely pass on information, but aim to stimulate the reader's interest in and capacity to do more and better philosophical thinking about the subject matter in question. This aim is best accomplished, I believe, by doing philosophy in areas which cry for the illumination which this exciting and powerful intellectual activity may bring. Thus, in this book, the reader will encounter my own attempted answers to many of the fundamental questions of the philosophy of law, perceived in the concrete context of contemporary social controversy -- obscenity . . .

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