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Moral Combat: The Dilemma of Legal Perspectivalism

Heidi HurdUniversity of Pennsylvania

ISBN13: 9780521642248
ISBN: 0521642248
Published: April 2001
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £88.00

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This book explores the thesis that legal roles force people to engage in moral combat, an idea which is implicit in the assumption that citizens may be morally required to disobey unjust laws, while judges may be morally required to punish citizens for civil disobedience. Heidi Hurd advances the surprising argument that the law cannot require us to do what morality forbids. The 'role-relative' understanding of morality is shown to be incompatible with both consequentialist and deontological moral philosophies. In the end, Hurd shows that our best moral theory is one which never makes one actor's moral success turn on another's moral failure. Moral Combat is a sophisticated, well-conceived and carefully argued book on a very important and controversial topic at the junction between legal and political philosophy. It will be of interest to moral, legal, and political philosophers, as well as teachers and students of professional ethics in law.

Part I. The Dilemma of Legal Perspectivalism:
1. The incompatibility of weak retributivism, the rule of law, and the separation of powers
Part II. Sources of the Dilemma of Legal Perspectivalism:
2. The rejection of moral relativism
3. The indefensibility of practical authority
4. The failure of influential authority
5. The limits of advisory authority
6. A defense of theoretical authority
Part III. The Moral Case for Legal Perspectivalism:
7. Practical errors: pragmatic foundations for perspectivalism
8. The rule of law values: principled foundations for judicial perspectivalism
9. The values of democracy and the separation of powers: principled foundations for constitutional perspectivalism
Part IV. The Moral Case Against Legal Perspectivalism:
10. Consequentialism and moral correspondence
11. Deontology and moral correspondence
Part V. Resolving the Dilemma of Legal Perspectivalism:
12. Legal practices without moral combat