Reply: The Nature and Virtue of Law

TitleReply: The Nature and Virtue of Law
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSimmonds, NE

The essay replies to comments by Finnis, Gardner and Endicott, on my book, Law as a Moral Idea . It is questioned whether Finnis is right to suggest that governance by law is a requirement of justice. It is suggested that Hart's positivism may have rested upon an unduly private conception of morality. Gardner's suggestion that Law as a Moral Idea falsely manufactures disagreement with Hart is rejected, principally by pointing out that Gardner focuses upon only one issue, where the book already acknowledges that Hart might conceivably agree, and ignores other issues where the disagreement with Hart seems indisputable. In response to Endicott, it is acknowledged that 'politics' could be understood as a moral idea comparable to the idea of 'law', but denied that this robs either thesis of interest. The nature of doctrinal reasoning and law's justificatory force is then discussed