Law And Virtue

Authored by: Lawrence B. Solum

The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics

Print publication date:  February  2015
Online publication date:  February  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415659338
eBook ISBN: 9780203071755
Adobe ISBN: 9781135096694

10.4324/9780203071755.ch35

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Abstract

Contemporary legal theory endeavors to answer at least two large questions of general jurisprudence: First, what is the aim of law? Second, how can legal institutions best do their job of resolving disputes? Contemporary virtue ethics provides insights that are relevant to each of these two questions. A virtue-centered approach to normative legal theory can be called “virtue jurisprudence.” For virtue jurisprudence, the final end of law is to promote human flourishing—to enable humans to lead lives that express the human excellences or virtues. The best way to improve the ability of legal institutions to resolve disputes is to entrust decision-making authority to judges who possess the judicial virtues—civic courage, judicial temperament, judicial intelligence, practical wisdom, and, above all, justice. In other words, virtue ethics can provide legal theorists with the tools to think about the fundamental questions of normative jurisprudence in new ways.

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