Sunday, February 13, 2011
I have recently started my first read of Nigel Simmond’s 2007 book Law as Moral Idea. Professor Simmonds is Reader in Jurisprudence at Cambridge University’s faculty of law where he is also Director of Studies in Law. So far, it is a fascinating and illuminating read. On the plus side, Simmonds takes to task a number of prominent contemporary legal theorists who maintain the H.L.A. Hart dichotomy of law and morality. As Simmonds argues, “Only in the union of legality and justice is either idea fully realizable.”
One of the drawbacks of his impressive work, however, is his strong reliance on Kant and Hobbes as sources of theory that link law and morality. They are relevant, but they are not the only voices who should be considered in such an important discussion. It strikes me that many Catholic theorists of earlier and present-day periods have contributed much to this debate. However, they are conspicuous by their absence in Professor’s Simmonds discussion.
One thing that I can do besides offer a lament is to intensify my work in prominently featuring the (Catholic) voices that argue and justify the necessary link between law and morality.