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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Are Jurisprudential Debates Conceptual?: Some Lessons From Democratic Theory, Dan Priel Oct 2015

Are Jurisprudential Debates Conceptual?: Some Lessons From Democratic Theory, Dan Priel

Dan Priel

The dominant view among legal philosophers is that jurisprudential debates about the nature of law are conceptual. In this article I challenge this view. I do so by comparing these debates to debates about the justification of democracy and showing that the arguments found in both are often very similar. I demonstrate that in both domains, there are arguments on one side that explain an institution (either law or democracy) in terms of its ability to help people lead a better life, and there are arguments on the other side that highlight the value of these institutions in promoting political ...


Jurisprudence And (Its) History, Dan Priel, Charles L. Barzun Oct 2015

Jurisprudence And (Its) History, Dan Priel, Charles L. Barzun

Dan Priel

It is not obvious that philosophers and historians of law should take much interest in the scholarly enterprises of the other. Many legal philosophers understand their task as one of clarifying the meaning of such familiar legal concepts as “right,” “duty,” or “law” by offering analyses of them that purport to be general, abstract, and timeless. Meanwhile, historians tend to be suspicious of speculative claims ungrounded in fact and so often prefer to focus on the concrete, particular features of actual legal regimes. But surface appearances can deceive. Unlike some other areas of philosophy, the subject matter of jurisprudence is ...


The Place Of Legitimacy In Legal Theory, Dan Priel Oct 2015

The Place Of Legitimacy In Legal Theory, Dan Priel

Dan Priel

In this essay I argue that in order to understand debates in jurisprudence one needs to distinguish clearly between four concepts: validity, content, normativity, and legitimacy. I show that this distinction helps us, first, make sense of fundamental debates in jurisprudence between legal positivists and Dworkin: these should not be understood, as they often are, as debates on the conditions of validity, but rather as debates on the right way of understanding the relationship between these four concepts. I then use this distinction between the four concepts to criticize legal positivism. The positivist account begins with an attempt to explain ...


Book Review: Justice In Robes By Ronald Dworkin (2006), Dan Priel Oct 2015

Book Review: Justice In Robes By Ronald Dworkin (2006), Dan Priel

Dan Priel

Since the 1960's Ronald Dworkin has been arguing for a particular account of law that he believed was both explanatorily superior to the one offered by competing theories, and also the basis for normative arguments for producing right answers to legal questions. Justice in Robes collects Dworkin's most recent essays on this subject and thus provides the appropriate opportunity for assessing the legal theory of one of the more influential legal philosophers. In this Review I seek to offer a clearer account than appears in the book itself of Dworkin's project, and in this way offer a ...