Practical Reason in Law and Morality

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Overview

The concept of practical reason is central to contemporary thought on ethics and the philosophy of law - acting well means acting for good reasons. Explaining this requires several stages. How do reasons relate to actions at all, as incentives and in explanations? What are values, how do they relate to human nature, and how do they enter practical reasoning? How do the concepts of 'right and wrong' fit in, and in what way do they involve questions of mutual trust among human beings? How does our moral freedom - our freedom to form our own moral commitments - relate to our responsibilities to each other? How is this final question transposed into law and legal commitments?

This book explores these questions, vital to understanding the nature of law and morality. It presents a clear account of practical reason, valuable to students of moral philosophy and jurisprudence at undergraduate or postgraduate levels. For more advanced scholars it also offers a reinterpretation of Kant's views on moral autonomy and Smith's on self-command, marrying Smith's 'moral sentiments' to Kant's 'categorical imperative' in a novel way.

The book concludes and underpins the author's Law, State and Practical Reason series.Taken together the books offer an overarching theory of the nature of law and legal reason, the role of the State, and the nature of moral reason and judgement.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The theory of law and practical reason offered in MacCormick's latest book constitutes an insightful approach through which to tackle some of the more debated issues in jurisprudence and practical philosophy today. Critical reflection on MacCormick's theory, thus, may indeed by the way to work toward an insightful treatment of reason applied to practical disputes."

- Stefano Bertea, Journal of Law and Society, Volume 23, No.3, 2009

"The book is clearly written in MacCormick's usual lucid and lively style avoiding technicalities, and a pleasure to read. Anyone having heard him lecture will sense his voice and be enlightened to think on the use of practical reason...MacCormick's account is a rewarding read and his message should be taken seriously by anyone interested in law and morality"

- Jes Bjarup, Natural Law, Practical Reason and Autonomous Persons, Archiv Fuer Rechts Und Sozialphilosophie 95.3

"...deserves a wider reading and could change the picture of legal positivism nowadays. It could be the case not only because of the valuable new insight into the old problems invoked in philosophical thoughts achieved by means of dialogue with the contemporary context of legal theory, but also because of the deepness, reflective and proactively original insight presented in MacComick's last book. I strongly recommend this book to every lawyer."

- Lidia Rodak, Silesian Journal of Legal Studies

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Product Details

Meet the Author

The late Neil MacCormick, formerly Regius Professor Emeritus of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations in the University of Edinburgh

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Table of Contents

Table of Cases

Introduction 1

1 Incentives and Reasons 5

2 Values and Human Nature 27

3 Right and Wrong 47

4 Questions of Trust 69

5 Autonomy and Freedom 89

6 Obedience, Freedom, and Engagement - or Utility? 105

7 Society, Property, and Commerce 123

8 On Justice 137

9 Using Freedom Well 155

10 Judging: Legal Cases and Moral Questions 171

11 Practical Reason, Law, and State 193

Index 211

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