Are there any rules?

Journal of Ethics 5 (3):199-219 (2001)
Widespread, deep controversy as to the content of the law of a community is compatible with the view that the law is a system of rules. I defend that view through a critique of Ronald Dworkin's discussion of Riggs v. Palmer 22 N.E. 188 (1889). Dworkin raised an important challenge for jurisprudence: to account for the fact that legal rights and duties are frequently controversial. I offer an explanation of the possibility of deep disagreement about the application of social rules, which reconciles controversy as to the content of the law, with the model of a legal system as a system of rules. And I discuss the implications for understanding the role of judicial discretion in law.
Keywords controversy  disagreement  indeterminacy  legal validity  principles  rules  social rules
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DOI 10.1023/A:1012703223987
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