What Is the Difference between Moral and Legal Reasoning

Moral thinking is a thought process aimed at establishing a value judgment by determining whether an idea is “good,” “wrong,” “good,” or “bad.” These are reflections on the things we should do and the things we shouldn`t do. When identifying the “should” or “should not do” of things like an idea, behavior, or action, it`s important to know both the intentions of what needs to be achieved and the environment that exists from the decision to the execution of the decision. Therefore, moral reasoning cannot be executed properly until what is sought and the environment are fully understood. Moral arguments begin with non-moral factual assertions and end with a moral value judgment that flows from an “is” to an illogical “should.” This is a type of error called naturalistic fallacy. An argument can avoid naturalistic error by incorporating a general moral principle that links fact-finding to moral value judgment (Moore and Parker, 452-465). Morality is believed to have existed since the beginning of the human species. However, it is widely accepted that religion has cemented morality as an essential social construct. Thanks to common religions, it became common for people to adhere to norms of behavior that had serious consequences. Thus, religion and morality have been passed down from generation to generation and place, and although they have been different for different people, morality has become a central element of society. What is legal and what is moral is similar in many ways, but very different in others. Both provide social organization, meaning they shape how people behave and what is considered socially acceptable. They also help people interact more coherently and aim to protect individuals from harm.

After all, they accept or discourage many of the same actions. For example, drunk driving is legally and morally unacceptable. However, law and morality are not the same thing. On the one hand, the law is binary, which means that an act is legal or illegal. But morality is full of gray areas. For example, stealing bread is illegal for any reason, but most people are more sympathetic when made to feed hungry orphans than as a random act of theft. In addition, the law is enforced by state actors such as the police and courts, and penalties are provided for violators. Morality is not formally regulated, although there can certainly be social consequences for immoral acts. After all, the law is the same for all citizens, but morality depends on who you ask, because everyone has a different perspective and experience. Keep these similarities and differences in mind as we define exactly what legal and moral means. As society evolves and opinions change, so does what is considered moral.

If you look back in history, there are many examples of laws that were clearly immoral by today`s standards. Among other things, the United States stole Native American land, enslaved blacks, and discriminated against homosexuals. As society becomes more informed and open, citizens demand that their laws reflect their new definition of what is moral. While not everyone agrees with the decisions, changing the laws is a big step toward changing general social views. The amendment to the law provides the company with the new definition of what is acceptable. Law and morality interact with each other and often cause each other`s change. Ultimately, when laws are unjust or outdated, people must stand up and fight for what is right. While the illegality of something may give us a reason not to do so, it is a prudent rather than a moral reason. In other words, if we are afraid to steal because we could get caught, then we fear punishment, not immorality. Nevertheless, we can offer moral reasons to comply with the law. We could say that we owe it to the state to abide by its laws, and that civil disobedience undermines both the moral fabric and our tacit agreement with the state.

This was essentially Socrates` argument against fleeing Athens before his imminent execution. But in general, legal arguments are not applicable to ethical discussions. Ethicists usually discuss morality, not legality, as we will. Legal reasoning is an argument about the law or an argument about legal issues. This chapter deals with the autonomy of legal justification. The question is whether there is room for legal arguments based on moral grounds. It offers two conclusions. First, that legal reasoning is not limited to applying that particular knowledge and exercising that particular skill. Second, courts generally have discretion to amend legislation or make exceptions to their claims, and where they do have that discretion, they should use moral considerations to decide whether or how to use it. Many companies offer single sign-on between the company`s website and Oxford Academic. If you see “Sign in through society site” in the registration area of a journal: Legal argumentation, on the other hand, like moral claims, is prescriptive: it tells us what we “should” do.

But legal regulations carry the weight of the law behind them, while moral regulations alone do not. The justification of laws – deciding what should be legal or illegal is based on legal moralism, the harm principle, legal paternalism and the criminal offense principle. Legal moralism and the principle of harm justify a law that prohibits an idea, behaviour or action on the grounds that it is immoral and harmful to others. Legal paternalism justifies a law that imposes an idea, behaviour or action on people on the basis that it is in the good of a person, while the criminal principle justifies the prohibition of a law because it is offensive (Moore and Parker, 470). It is especially important to distinguish morality from law, as discussions about morality and law often merge. On the one hand, the two are different, because we consider some legal acts to be immoral and some laws to be unjust. And even if the law didn`t prohibit murder, robbery and the like, we`d probably think they`re wrong. This suggests that the two are not co-extended.

On the other hand, the two are linked because the law embodies many moral imperatives. Legal prohibitions include most of our ordinary moral rules, such as those against lying, murder, cheating, rape, and theft. This suggests that there is a link between the moral and the legal. The first legal code, the Codex of your-Nammu, was developed in Mesopotamia around 2000 BC. The Code lists prohibited acts and the penalties associated with them. The law had the support of the powers that be and was enforced throughout the empire. The Ur-Nammu codex was remarkably modern with a mixture of physical and monetary punishments. Current laws are still based on the structure of the your-Nammu Code. As in moral and legal reasoning, when we discuss art, we invoke more than one principle or framework in a single argument, but not always. An aesthetic argument describes the characteristics of a work that are relevant and descriptively faithful to a principle. Although it is possible to have a lawless morality or a law without morality, the two usually go hand in hand. Therefore, we propose that the law codify morality.

In other words, the law formulates the morality of culture in legal texts. Again, not all codes of law relate to a moral issue, but most laws have moral significance. Although there is a link between morale and legal, they are clearly not the same. Lawrence Kohlberg explains the stages of moral thought through his theory of moral development. The first stage of moral thought is pre-conventional morality. Here, reasoning is based on the punishment-obedience orientation – physical consequences are the determinant of a “good” and “bad” action and an instrumental relativistic orientation – “good” and “good” are what satisfies needs. At this point, the reasoning focuses on oneself. At the second level, there is conventional morality, which includes “good boy – nice girl” and the orientation of law and order. It is about the image that others think and the approval of others for “good” behavior. « Righteous behavior consists in doing one`s duty, respecting authority and maintaining the social order given for oneself. » The final stage is post-conventional morality, which includes the orientation of the social contract and the orientation of the universal ethical principle. Here, the “good” action is determined by the common good, although the action is contrary to the predefined social order.

The decision to make the right choice is defined by the decision of conscience in accordance with self-chosen ethical principles that lead to logical completeness, universality and coherence (Kohlberg, “Theory of Moral Development”). Morality is a set of principles that attempt to define what is good and bad behavior. Moral principles can be based on culture, religion, experience and personal values. An action is considered moral if it meets these standards, even if everyone has different standards. Judgments about beauty and art, such as moral and legal reasoning, are based on conceptual frameworks that incorporate facts and values. A judgment on art is made when an appeal to aesthetic reason is made to defend or critique value statements, using one or more of the eight value principles.