more from Jonathan Wolff

Single Idea 20492

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 2. The Law / d. Legal positivism]

Full Idea

Some laws have little grounding in morality. You may believe you have a moral obligation to stop at a red light at a deserted crossroads, but only because that is what the law tells you to do.

Gist of Idea

Following some laws is not a moral matter; trivial traffic rules, for example


Jonathan Wolff (An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev) [2006], 2 'Goal')

Book Reference

Wolff,Jonathan: 'An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Rev)' [OUP 2006], p.38

A Reaction

I would have thought such a law was wholly grounded in the morality of teamwork. It is the problem of rule utilitarianism, and also a problem about virtuous character. The puzzle is not the law, but the strict obedience to it.