In this Book

Law's Virtues
summary
Can the law promote moral values even in pluralistic societies such as the United States? Drawing upon important federal legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, legal scholar and moral theologian Cathleen Kaveny argues that it can. In conversation with thinkers as diverse as Thomas Aquinas, Pope John Paul II, and Joseph Raz, she argues that the law rightly promotes the values of autonomy and solidarity. At the same time, she cautions that wise lawmakers will not enact mandates that are too far out of step with the lived moral values of the actual community.

According to Kaveny, the law is best understood as a moral teacher encouraging people to act virtuously, rather than a police officer requiring them to do so. In Law’s Virtues Kaveny expertly applies this theoretical framework to the controversial moral-legal issues of abortion, genetics, and euthanasia. In addition, she proposes a moral analysis of the act of voting, in dialogue with the election guides issued by the US bishops. Moving beyond the culture wars, this bold and provocative volume proposes a vision of the relationship of law and morality that is realistic without being relativistic and optimistic without being utopian.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. Part I: Law as a Moral Teacher
  2. p. 13
  1. 1. Autonomy, Solidarity, and Law’s Pedagogy
  2. pp. 15-43
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  1. 2. Law and Morality: Understanding the Relationship
  2. pp. 45-70
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  1. Part II: Life Issues and the Law
  2. p. 71
  1. 3. The Pro-Life Movement and the Purpose of Law
  2. pp. 73-96
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  1. 4. Bad Pedagogy, Bad Law: What FOCA Is—and Isn’t
  2. pp. 97-110
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  1. 5. Genetic Information and Razian Autonomy
  2. pp. 111-140
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  1. 6. Dying Gracefully
  2. pp. 141-162
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  1. 7. Dying Well, Assisted Suicide, and Constitutional Law
  2. pp. 163-186
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  1. Part III: Voting, Morality, and the Law
  2. p. 187
  1. 8. Voting and Faithful Citizenship
  2. pp. 189-218
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  1. 9. Intrinsic Evil and Political Responsibility
  2. pp. 219-242
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  1. 10. Voting and Complicity in Wrongdoing
  2. pp. 243-269
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  1. Concluding Reflections
  2. pp. 271-277
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 279-292
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