Application of the Hart-Devlin debate to the ideas and arguments raised in ‘Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination’
AbstractThe Hart-Devlin debate centres upon the strongly contested issue of whether or not the law should enforce morality. The debate between these two figures was sparked by the Wolfenden Report of 1957, which concluded that due to the importance of individual freedom, ‘there must remain a realm of private morality which is, in brief and crude terms, not the law’s business’. The progression of our society into a more liberal entity has led to the argument that Hart, widely regarded as the twentieth century’s greatest British legal philosopher, has ultimately superseded Devlin in this debate. Therefore, this essay shall re-examine each side of the debate in light of the changing legal landscape, specifically with reference to the public opinion on legalising euthanasia. The examination will seek to determine whether Hart’s liberal approach has in fact prevailed, or whether society is more inclined to accept the more conservative approach advocated by Devlin.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).