Distinguishing Moral from Legal Issues: a philosophical approach to the case of Michelle Carter


  • Sandy Larose


Michelle Carter, moral principals, moral rights


Efforts made to enforce the law as it pertains to all of our rights often require making a distinction between legal and moral rights. This will help us determine what kind of punishment to impose upon those who violate those rights. Often our actions are legally wrong, but they lack sufficient malicious intent and motive to deserve legal punishment, in which case we must appeal to our moral principles. For centuries scholars have presented some interesting theories regarding moral principles. Many times these principals are in conflict with some of our fundamental rights. Finding the balance is very important. The case of Michelle Carter allows us to explore the critical need for finding balance. It is possible the Carter case will become a precedent for evaluating emotionally disturbed people with good intentions, yet still sentence them to be punished for the way others interpret their words.