The grounds of Law

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Abstract / Description of output

I discuss two versions of Ronald Dworkin’s objection from theoretical agreement. The first version targets what Dworkin calls the “plain fact” view of the grounds of law. Dworkin’s argument is sound; but the plain fact view, which Dworkin misattributes to H.L.A. Hart, is a straw man. Indeed, Dworkin’s argument relies on a distinction that Hart pioneered and the plain fact view rejects: the distinction between internal, normative statements of law and external, factual statements about law. That is the claim in Section 1. In Sections 2 and 3, I discuss a more familiar version of Dworkin’s objection—a version that has been revived in recent literature. This version, too, derives its strength from charging legal positivists with the failure to distinguish between external and internal statements. Unfortunately, many theorists today are guilty as charged.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Legacy of Ronald Dworkin
EditorsWil Waluchow, Stefan Sciaraffa
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190466411
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2016


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