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Practical Reason in Law and Morality$
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Neil MacCormick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198268772

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268772.001.0001

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Society, Property, and Commerce

Society, Property, and Commerce

(p.123) 7 Society, Property, and Commerce
Practical Reason in Law and Morality

Neil MacCormick

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies the three principles of equity to the practical domain of positive law. In such applications they transmute into the principles of ‘society, property, and commerce’. Human beings do not mutually observe such basic duties as not to kill or harm or defame or steal from each other, they cannot together sustain a peaceful community. Yet we need to live in society, hence we need institutions to back up the basic duties using adjudication and coercion when necessary. Property is the necessary domain for the exercise of liberty. People cannot act freely save with access to physical space and to material resources. Property regimes secure this. Commerce then follows naturally as the engagements people make enable them to engage in exchanges of all sorts with each other, each in pursuit of some reasonable life plan.

Keywords:   equity, positive law, freedom, society, property, commerce

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