The Ethics of Deference

The Ethics of Deference : Learning from Law's Morals

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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 206 pages
  • 167.1 x 216.4 x 13.2mm | 335.66g
  • CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 0521008727
  • 9780521008723
  • 1,097,302

Review quote

'The Ethics of Deference is an admirably clear book, presenting a thoroughly novel take on its subject-matter ... worthy of close attention.' Modern Law Review 'Clearly presented and persuasively argued, Soper's account of the ethics of deference covers a wide range of legal, political, and moral issues from authority and autonomy, to obligation and the nature of reasons. ... Soper offers an insightful analysis ... His most original and contentious position, that the law has authority but does not claim it, is one that he makes intuitively appealing. Soper's thesis gives one the power to approach the law rationally, and to consider the pros and cons of adhering to its norms.' Res Republicashow more

Table of contents

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.show more

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