The Moral Legislature
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This paper is an experiment in what John Rawls recently called "Kantian constructiivism". It seeks to establish a "suitable connection between a particular conception of the person and first principles of [morality] by means of a procedure of construction. Yet, it differs from Rawls' similar efforts in a number of ways. The emphasis is morality generally, not justice in particular. The construction attempts to be more "realistic" especially in substituting external procedures for Rawls' "veil of ignorance". These differences are, I hope, at least suggested by substituting "the moral legislature" for Rawls' "original position". Section I of this paper explains further what motivates the sort of construction proposed, sections II-V describe the moral legislature itself, explaining as well why it makes sense to construct it as I do and how it differs from some obvious alternatives. Section VI concludes with an example of how the moral legislature might be used, the sketch of an argument for the claim that positive law cannot in in generally be morally obliging.