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Practical Reason in Law and Morality - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Practical Reason in Law and Morality

Neil MacCormick


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 e ... More

Keywords: practical reason, ethics, philosophy of law, incentives, values, mutual trust, moral freedom, law and morality, Kant, Adam Smith

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780198268772
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268772.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

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