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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Goode on Commercial Law

Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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The Ethics of Difference: Learning from Law's Morals

ISBN13: 9780521008723
ISBN: 0521008727
Published: October 2002
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £27.99

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Do citizens have an obligation to obey the law? This book differs from standard approaches by shifting from the language of obedience (orders) to that of deference (normative judgments).

The popular view that law claims authority but does not have it is here reversed on both counts: Law does not claim authority but has it. Though the focus is on political obligation, the author approaches that issue indirectly by first developing a more general account of when deference is due to the view of others.

Two standard practices that political theorists often consider in exploring the question of political obligation - fair-play and promise-keeping - can themselves be seen as examples of a duty of deference. In this respect the book defends a more general theory of ethics whose scope extends beyond the question of political obligation to questions of duty in the case of law, promises, fair play and friendship.

Part I. Law's Morals:
1. Introduction
2. Understanding authority
3. Claiming authority
4. The nature of law
Part II. The Ethics of Deference:
5. The puzzle of promise
6. The problem of fair play
7. Political obligation
8. The nature of deference.