Devlin's Theory Of Morality

Law and morality have been a debate for many people throughout centuries and finding how they interconnect and whether they should at all. Some theorists such as John Stuart Mill, believe that morality has nothing to do with law and that harm to others is the only valid reason to limit someone’s freedom. Others believe that morality is something that cannot be separate from law because protecting those just from harm is insufficient. There are other things that the law protects besides just harm such as speed limits, marriage, and more. Those such as Devlin and Dworkin both believe that morality is a part of law but have different judgments of the way morality for a society should be chosen. In this essay I will evaluate Devlin’s interpretation …show more content…
This is because it is based on what the reasonable man finds acceptable for a community to tolerate. With this theory of how morality comes about would allow prejudice and disdain to run our society. Dworkin argues a different way of determining what is immoral for society and believes that emotion is not the way to run our society. Justification beyond what is acceptable for the community is how Dworkin argues how deciding what immorality is should come about. These justifications cannot come from prejudice. Cannot be justified by emotional responses such as disgust. They cannot come from others beliefs, which someone takes as their own and cannot rely on personal moral opinions. Reasons that support a moral belief should be rational and consistent. Moral positions are only valid if they come from Dworkin’s qualifications of what is justifiable, (Dyzenhaus, Dworkin, 394). Dworkin’s argument is a resolution to the issues that surrounds a society who allow unjust acts based on a consensus of the reasonable men. For example women and African American’s not being allowed to vote. The reasonable man casts moral judgments on them based on his belief that they deserve less respect and in turn less rights, (Dyzenhaus, Dworkin, 395). This for Devlin would be enough to constitute legal action for public morality. Dworkin requires a higher standard than that of Devlin’s reasonable man who bases morality …show more content…
It should be looked at case by case to take into consideration content and then determined whether the act immoral based on sound justifications in the terms Dworkin lays out. Society has a right to protect itself from harm and not what enacts an emotional response. Our society is strong enough to undergo moral changes that take place overtime and these changes do not corrupt our morals to the point of disintegration. If an immoral act is harmful against an individual or society as a whole there is a right to take action to rectify the situation so harm is no longer permitted. Devlin and Dworkin agree that not every individual is capable of giving consent and there should be restrictions of what individuals are capable of such, this would allow legal intervention in some of the acts Devlin considers immoral. Public morality is something that comes from justification not from a reasonable man making decisions for society as a whole. Although if a society has an overwhelming opposition to an act that Dworkin would deem as justificatory then there should be a right to overturn such act otherwise it could potentially be more harmful to society than prohibiting

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