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The Ends and Limits of Law

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Law
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
ISBN (Electronic)9781316104439
ISBN (Print)9781107087965, 9781107458222
Published1 Jun 2020

King's Authors


Historically the end of law has often been taken to be something like this: to secure the realisation of moral goals or to promote the well-being of persons. The law is (or should be) based on what a well-known opponent of such a view, John Rawls, would describe as a ‘comprehensive moral doctrine’. As Rawls puts it, a comprehensive moral conception ‘includes conceptions of what is of value in human life, and ideals of personal character, as well as ideals of friendship and of familial and associational relationships, and much else that is to inform our conduct and in the limit to our life as a whole’.1 He has in mind many ethical and philosophical doctrines that prescribe how one ought to act and live.

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