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#16 - Jurist: A nation’s laws must be viewed as expressions

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This is must be true question.

I was confused how the conclusion was made in the stimuli.

The moral code transcends laws expressing it, and is used for basis for preferring certain laws to others.

QQQ: THUS, any moral prohibition against the violation of statues must leave room for exception..??????

I still struggle understanding the conclusion. I need help on that.

About the answer choices I narrowed them down to two: B and E.

I couldn't tell which was better answer, so marked it wrong.

How can we infer the correct answer E?
Robert Carroll
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The idea behind the jurist's argument is that the moral code is the true criterion of right conduct, and thus laws derive their value by matching the moral code. The conclusion recognizes that the moral code and law will sometimes not match perfectly, and as the moral code, not the law, should be the true test of conduct, not everyone who violates the law (statutes) will be doing something morally wrong (if they're following the moral code in a case where it conflicts with the law). So, a moral command that says "Never break the law" is not a good one; it would need to leave exceptions for when the law is wrong.

Since this is a Must Be True, the soundness or lack of soundness of the argument isn't important; we just need to base our answer on the facts as presented by the jurist.

Answer choice (B) is not correct because, according to the jurist, the moral code is the measure of the adequacy of the law.

Answer choice (E) is right because the need for exceptions to a moral prohibition against the violation of statutes implies that what the moral code demands and what the statutes demand will not always line up perfectly. There would be no need for exceptions if they did perfectly align in all cases. So sometimes the moral code and the law that expresses that moral code will be in conflict.

Robert Carroll
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I'm still a little confused at how we pick out what the conclusion means. Could you elaborate on the use of "moral prohibition"?

Adam Tyson
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Sure thing, swong! Focus on the plain meaning of the words (you'll hear that advice in law school, too, btw, and it is often the basis for a decision in many court cases). A prohibition is a rule that says not to do something. A moral prohibition, then, is a rule that is based on morality (as opposed to legality) against doing something. So, while there may be no legal prohibition against me eating the last of the cookies when I know my brother wants them and hasn't yet gotten his fair share (that is, there is no law against it), there may be a moral prohibition that says I shouldn't do that. Thou shalt not covet thy brother's cookies, perhaps.

So in other words, the conclusion is saying that moral rules against violating laws need to have exceptions (implying that sometimes the morally correct thing to do is to break the law).

I hope that helps clear things up!
Adam M. Tyson
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