Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Matter of DisputeMorality, Democracy, and Law$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Christopher J. Peters

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387223.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 July 2020



A Government of Laws

(p.1) 1. Introduction
A Matter of Dispute

Christopher J. Peters (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter develops the book's central problem—the problem of legal authority—and outlines the book's arguments in response to it. It introduces the apparent tension between morality and law by juxtaposing John Adams's ideal of “a government of laws and not of men” against Aristotle's prescription that the “best man” rather than the “best law” should rule. As Aristotle recognized, laws inevitably have exceptions—situations in which the morally best thing to do is something other than what the law commands. Why should the “best men” not feel free to ignore the law in such circumstances? The chapter foreshadows the book's dispute-resolution framework for answering that question and situates the problem of legal authority in the context of several seemingly diverse fields of study: analytic legal philosophy, democratic political theory, theory of adjudication, and public-law theory.

Keywords:   legal authority, obedience to law, John Adams, Aristotle, government of laws, dispute resolution, analytic legal philosophy, democratic theory, adjudication, public law

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .