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By Richard A. Posner

Formidable felony thinkers became mesmerized via ethical philosophy, believing that groovy figures within the philosophical culture carry the keys to knowing and bettering legislations and justice or even to resolving the main contentious problems with constitutional legislation. they're improper, contends Richard Posner during this publication. Posner characterizes the present preoccupation with ethical and constitutional conception because the most up-to-date kind of felony mystification - an evasion of the true want of yank legislations, that is for a better realizing of the social, financial, and political evidence out of which nice criminal controversies come up. In pursuit of that knowing, Posner advocates a rebuilding of the legislation at the pragmatic foundation of open-minded and systematic empirical inquiry and the rejection of cant and nostalgia - the genuine professionalism foreseen by means of Holmes a century in the past.

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Extra resources for The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory

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But the critic can point to 42. See Richard A. Posner, Law and Literature 326–332 (enlarged and rev. ed. 1998). Cf. Rorty: “It would be better [for Western moral philosophers] to say: Here is what we in the West look like as a result of ceasing to hold slaves, beginning to educate women, separating church and state, and so on. Here is what happened after we started treating certain distinctions between people as arbitrary rather than fraught with moral signiªcance. ” Richard Rorty, “Justice as a Larger Loyalty,” in Justice and Democracy: Cross-Cultural Perspectives 9, 19–20 (Ron Bontekoe and Marietta Stepaniants eds.

The hope is forlorn. Moral contestants, even when they are members of the same society, typically do not agree on all the premises from which they argue. And so moral pluralism provides no leverage for moral critique, but if anything reinforces the lesson of moral relativism. 22. See id. at 256–257. 23. A point stressed by Moody-Adams, note 20 above. With speciªc reference to female genital mutilation, see id. at 207–211. moral theory 23 Here are two more examples. Abortion is moral in cultures that have liberal attitudes toward sex or that have adopted a feminist ideology, but is immoral in ones that want to limit sexual freedom, promote population growth, or advance religious beliefs in the sanctity of human life.

This kind of altruism, when it is not just showing off, is the product of a genuine moral sentiment. Call it dutiful or disinterested altruism. The converse is the indignation we direct at people who misbehave even if their misbehavior imposes no cost on us. These emotions, and the behaviors they impel, reºect the inºuence of rules that are obeyed (though not by everyone) even when there is no legal or other tangible sanction for disobedience or reward for obedience. The efªcacy of such rules might seem to imply the existence of a moral faculty—a faculty that moral theories might move—alongside the faculty of rational calculation of advantage and disadvantage.

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