Thursday, February 21, 2013

HLA Hart's reply to JF Stephen

This was the core of Hart's response to Stephen's argument that the government could fruitfully regulate moral culture:

"in any full investigation of the part played by legal prohibition in sustaining the conviction that conduct is morally wrong, we should have to distinguish between various types of immorality.  Some, like fornication, though they may be quite sincerely condemned morally, represent temptations to a majority of men; others, such as incest or homosexuality, are practices for which most men may feel aversion and disgust.  In relation to the latter it would be very surprising if legal prohibition were a significant factor in preserving the general sense that the practice is immoral." (HLA Hart, "Law, Liberty, and Morality", 1962)

It's pretty clear that this has been proven false.

Dostoyevsky was a better psychologist:  "man gets used to everything, the beast!"

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