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LAW'S EMPIRE. RONALD DWORKIN. THE BELKNAP PRESS OF. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts. London, England. Law's Empire- Ronald Dworkin - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. A book by Ronald Dworkin. Law's Empire is a text in legal philosophy by Ronald Dworkin, in which the author . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.

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Destabilizing the Conceptual Foundations of Law's Empire In this critical review of Ronald Dworkin's Law's Empire,1 I deliver a two-pronged. With incisiveness and lucid style, Dworkin has written a masterful Law's Empire is a full-length presentation of his theory of law that will be. This book is a collection of essays examining the work of Ronald Dworkin in the philosophy of law and constitutionalism. A group of leading legal theorists.

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Exploring Law's Empire: The Jurisprudence of Ronald Dworkin Scott Hershovitz Abstract This book is a collection of essays examining the work of Ronald Dworkin in the philosophy of law and constitutionalism.

More This book is a collection of essays examining the work of Ronald Dworkin in the philosophy of law and constitutionalism. Bibliographic Information Print publication date: January DOI: In Riggs v. The statutes of wills contained no explicit exception for such a circumstance. Some judges reasoned that the statute should be read literally, in strict accordance with its explicit language, to identify the applicable legal rule.

Hence, they concluded, the grandson ought to inherit. On that view, the grandson has no legal title to inherit.

The important point for Dworkin is that highly competent legal officials disagreed on the basic criteria for identifying the law in their jurisdiction. If there is disagreement about these criteria among practitioners, then they do not share a convention concerning how to identify law.

The positivist view that asserts conventional agreement as the social fact that determines legal content is, Dworkin concludes, mistaken. If the judges in Riggs v. Palmer really disagree about this basic matter, in what sense could they be having a meaningful dispute about what the law requires, rather than merely talking past each other?

The challenge, as Dworkin sees it, is to offer an account of how meaningful legal disagreement is possible in the midst of a lack of consensus about the elementary terms by which to evaluate the truth of legal propositions.

Exploring Law's Empire: The Jurisprudence of Ronald Dworkin

When we disagree about the meaning of the novel, much of this disagreement can be sensibly understood as reflecting different understandings of what would make the novel best and, this could further reflect different assumptions about how to prioritize certain aesthetic judgments in the literary form, e. Nonetheless, in determining what friendship requires, I impute some moral significance to that sort of relationship, though one constrained and informed by standard social understandings of how friendships operate and what they require.

I cannot reasonably conclude that friendship demands that a person wholly abandon their personal aims — it fits neither tradition nor the values likely to endorse other accepted elements of the relation.

It could turn out that friendship requires financial solidarity to a higher degree than is typically assumed if other aspects of friendship are best accounted on principles that commend that solidarity.

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In any case, the specific normative content of any friendship, and the practical requirements and attitudes it properly involves, is largely determined by morality. In law, then, basic disagreement can be accommodated since we do not need foundational agreement on the criteria of validity.

What we need, rather, is a moderate degree of agreement on the discrete elements that constitute the practice again, though, not on why these elements constitute legal practice , for instance, that statutes, a constitution, prior judicial decisions, and certain customs are part of local law and that there are certain standard ways of approaching these materials in normal cases.

From there we can offer interpretations or justifications of these elements to determine the precise content of law. These justifications will be moral in character, about what is valuable about the rule of law and about what makes legal practice morally best.

Since there is no great mystery to having sensible moral disagreements about a common matter, we need no longer be mystified by the idea that we could have meaningful disagreement about law in the absence of a convention about the criteria of legal validity. Palmer, no judge doubted that the statutes of wills were relevant.

We can see literal, textually constrained statutory interpretation recommended by a concern with predictability in governance and avoidance of ex post facto penalization and a focus on legislative intent recommended by a moral concern with democratic legitimacy and when relevant legislative expertise. That the judges are having a conversation about a common matter is secured by a sufficient degree of shared pre-interpretive understanding.

That the judges are having sensible disagreement is secured by the intelligibility of a moral dispute about the value of the rule of law.

Scott Hershovitz

Since morality fundamentally determines legal content in this way, the truth of legal propositions cannot be conclusively established without engaging in moral reasoning. Even if the rule of law is best achieved if practitioners prescind from moral judgment in deciding everyday legal questions for reasons of predictability, for instance , this is conclusion of constructive interpretation, established by some moral argument to that effect.

Legal reasoning, then, is a practical engagement with the requirements of morality as they concern institutionalized, coercive legal practices, i. Rather than seeing law and morality as autonomous domains: [W]e might treat law not as separate from but as a department of morality.

We understand political theory that way: as part of morality more generally understood but distinguished, with its own distinct substance, because applicable to distinct institutional structures.

Law's Empire- Ronald Dworkin

We might treat legal theory as a special part of political morality distinguished by a further refinement of institutional structures. Palmer, are a special kind of moral rights — one has such a right in virtue of some moral justification of the legal materials. Dworkin offers a number of arguments, 15 but the most important and influential is the one implicit above, that constructive interpretation offers a way of understanding fundamental legal disagreement as intelligible and meaningful.

If there is serious, non-irrational disagreement about the criteria for settling legal content among officials, that is something for which a theory of the nature of law should account.Judge Hercules is eventually challenged by Judge Hermes, another idealized version of a jurist who is affected by an affinity to respecting historical legal meaning arguments which do not affect Judge Hercules in the same manner.

The best theory of the rule of law depends on substantive considerations of political morality. Every legal interpretation reflects an underlying theory about the general character of law: Dworkin assesses three such theories.

One major proponent of the Anglo-American version of legal positivism was H. Legal positivists have traditionally said 2 that what fundamentally makes a legal proposition true is some social fact s.

One, which has been very influential, takes the law of a community to be only what the established conventions of that community say it is. Summary[ edit ] Dworkin concisely states his primary concern in the preface of this volume concerning his approach to the philosophy of law: "We are subjects of law's empire, liegemen to its methods and ideals, bound in spirit while we debate what we must therefore do.

Dworkin assesses three such theories.