# Law

Introduction to jurisprudence courses points out that the objects regulated by laws are behavior and behavioral relationships.

Behavioral relationships: social relationships arising from human behavior.

In “Critique of the Prussian Censorship Instruction,” Marx mentioned, “As far as the law is concerned, I don’t exist fundamentally other than through my actions, I am not the subject of the law.” In simple terms, only when a certain behavior is carried out and it meets the legal requirements can it be subject to legal regulation. In other words, mere thoughts, inner activities, or social evaluations of a person’s moral character do not constitute the subject of legal regulation.

# Morality in Law

However, in practical terms, law seems unable to completely separate from morality or general human psychological activities.

During the process of lawmaking, the general social moral values will be incorporated into the legal system. This may not be very evident in countries like China that have borrowed and transplanted legal systems from the West. Notably, in Western countries, most behaviors encouraged are in line with basic social morals, while behaviors that are punished mostly go against general moral values. Laws are not created out of thin air. Traditional values, culture, ideology, and general moral principles have an implicit influence on the legislators during the drafting process. Indeed, it is difficult to see moral judgments in precise legal texts. However, morals serve as an important principle and guideline in the formation of laws, indirectly reflected in the patterns of legal regulation.

Similarly, during the implementation of laws, there is often a need to consider a person’s moral status. We often ask, “What motivated the crime?” which, in fact, delves into the person’s moral condition. Another example is the distinction between intent and negligence. Laws often provide different feedback for the same offense committed under different moral states.

Lastly, when existing laws fail to uphold social morals and justice, more legal practices are applying general moral principles to judicial decisions and legal drafting. A classic example would be the Nuremberg Trials and the Tokyo Trials. When justice is compromised and existing laws cannot uphold it, the international community resorts to universal moral standards to convict and sentence those who were considered innocent at that time.

It can be said that morality not only regulates the formulation of laws but also participates in the operation of laws and guides the development of laws. From various perspectives, morality and law cannot be separated.

# The Purpose of Morality in Law

The primary efficacy of law relies on the coercive force behind it, namely violence, the ability to compel others to do what they do not want to do. The main ways in which the law influences individuals are through positive rewards and negative punishments. By employing these external forces, the law aims to guide and reinforce behaviors, encouraging individuals to act in ways that do not violate the law.

Since moral principles are integrated into the law-making process, the law’s guiding role in human behavior effectively prompts individuals to develop behaviors in line with general moral values—changing their behavior patterns.

I believe that while the law directly regulates behavior and behavioral relationships, ultimately, the law’s regulation is still that of human morality. The process of legal regulation can be understood as follows: laws extract moral principles from the general will of society, based on these values to form texts to regulate individuals who have not yet embraced these moral values.

To offer a simple analogy, most people know to throw trash in the garbage can, not only to maintain city cleanliness but also to promote proper disposal and recycling. Initially, municipal offices placed garbage cans in various corners of the city, and everyone found it easy to throw trash into them. Therefore, gradually, people developed a habit of throwing trash in the bin. At a later stage, when the municipal office decided to strengthen waste classification and removed most of the trash cans in the city, almost all city residents had already formed the habit of holding onto their trash until they found a bin to dispose of it, rather than littering.

This form of moral guidance is also reflected in laws and can be amplified and exaggerated through news media and the internet to enhance its educational and edifying effects, elevating general moral standards to the level of universal moral consensus.

Representative of the empirical legal approach, H. L. A. Hart once pointed out that morals and law are separate. However, he also suggested that morality can guide the law by tracing laws back and revising them to incorporate moral guidance into the legal system. Even if morality and law are distinct, they are closely interconnected. Morality consistently guides the development and progress of the law, making contributions towards furthering harmonious and peaceful human development.