About this topic
Summary Interpretivism is a school of thought in contemporary jurisprudence and the philosophy of law. In the English speaking world, is identified with Ronald Dworkin's theses on the nature of law, which is sometimes seen as a third way between natural law and legal positivism. It entails with social constructivism, legal realism, ontological hermeneutics and legal practice.
Key works Interpretation; Ronald Dworkin; 
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  1. The Law of Laws.Pavlos Eleftheriadis - forthcoming - Transnational Legal Theory 1 (3).
    How can legal orders coexist? Contemporary lawyers and philosophers frequently accept that a legal system operates under its own terms and is shaped by its own participants. Any problems posed by the plurality of legal orders in the world are to be dealt with by each legal order separately. So persons that are caught in transnational disputes because they are subject to two or more jurisdictions, have recourse to private international law, which is always part of domestic law, i.e. the (...)
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  2. Normative monism and radical deflationism.Samuele Chilovi - 2024 - Jurisprudence 15 (2):182-193.
    Scott Hershovitz’s Law is a Moral Practice develops a bold, novel, and comprehensive account of law: the moral practice picture. Its central thesis is that legal relations (rights, duties, powers, etc.) are moral. They are real, full-fledged normative relations, connected to genuine reasons for action, and endowed with robust normativity. Nothing less than ordinary moral relations. The account is compounded with a deflationary view of theories in general jurisprudence and of the debates about them. In this vein, Hershovitz recommends that (...)
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  3. The Germ of Justice: Essays in General Jurisprudence.Leslie Green - 2023 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    A collection of the author's new and reprinted papers in general jurisprudence. Chapters: -/- Introduction: A Philosophy of Legal Philosophy -/- Law, As Such 1. The Concept of Law Revisited 2. Law as a Means 3. Custom and Convention at the Foundations of Law 4. Realism and the Sources of Law 5. Feminism in Jurisprudence -/- Law and Morality 6. The Germ of Justice 7. The Inseparability of Law and Morals 8. The Morality in Law 9. The Role of a (...)
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  4. One-System Integrity and the Legal Domain of Morality.Conor Crummey - 2022 - Legal Theory 28 (4):269-297.
    According to contemporary nonpositivist theories, legal obligations are a subset of our genuine moral obligations. Debates within nonpositivism then turn on how we delimit the legal “domain” of morality. Recently, nonpositivist theories have come under criticism on two grounds. First, that they are underinclusive, because they cannot explain why paradigmatically “legal” obligations are such. Second, that they are overinclusive, because they count as “legal” certain moral obligations that are plainly nonlegal. This paper undertakes both a ground-clearing exercise for and a (...)
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  5. Interpretivism and the Limits of Law.Tomasz Gizbert-Studnick, Francesca Poggi & Izabela Skoczeń (eds.) - 2022 - Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
    What does it mean to understand the law? This challenging book discusses whether and how understanding the law is qualitatively different from understanding a different, non-legal text or linguistic utterance, and whether knowledge of a language is sufficient to understand legal content in that language. Providing a comprehensive overview of current studies of interpretivism, both in the common and civil law systems, this book applies state of the art theories and tools of modern philosophy of language to shed new light (...)
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  6. Interpretivism and the Limits of Law.Tomasz Gizbert-Studnick, Francesca Poggi & Izabela Skoczeń (eds.) - 2022 - Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
    What does it mean to understand the law? This challenging book discusses whether and how understanding the law is qualitatively different from understanding a different, non-legal text or linguistic utterance, and whether knowledge of a language is sufficient to understand legal content in that language. Providing a comprehensive overview of current studies of interpretivism, both in the common and civil law systems, this book applies state of the art theories and tools of modern philosophy of language to shed new light (...)
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  7. Legislation as Legal Interpretation: The Role of Legal Expertise and Political Representation.Attila Mráz - 2022 - In Francesco Ferraro & Silvia Zorzetto (eds.), Exploring the Province of Legislation: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives in Legisprudence. pp. 33-56.
    While some descriptive and normative theories of legislation account for an extensive role of legal interpretation in legislation, others see its legislative role as marginal. Yet in contemporary constitutional democracies, where legislation is limited and guided by constitutional norms, as well as international and supranational law, legal interpretation must play some role in legislation—even if all or most of legislative activity may not be adequately described and evaluated as legal interpretation. In this chapter, I aim to explore some implications of (...)
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  8. Delimiting Legal Interpretation: The Problem of Moral Bias and Political Distortion—the Case of Criminal Intention.Izabela Skoczeń & Francesca Poggi - 2022 - Ratio Juris 35 (2):191-222.
  9. Semiosis y derecho.Carlos M. Cárcova, Marina Gorali, José Calvo González, Alicia Ruiz, Victoria Haidar, Jorge Roggero, Miguel Herzenbaum & Federico De Fazio - 2021 - Buenos Aires: Editorial Astrea.
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  10. Fragmentos sobre a obra The Force of Law de Frederick Schauer. [REVIEW]Felipe Labruna - 2021 - Revista Ibero-Americana de Humanidades, Ciências e Educação - Rease 7 (07).
    Em 2015 o jurista norte-americano Frederick Schauer publicou a obra The Force of Law, cujo teor não omite, desde o princípio de seu texto, que seu anseio ao escrevê-lo era opor-se à concepção proposta pelo estudioso inglês Herbert L. A. Hart no livro The Concept of Law, lançado em 2012, de que a natureza do Direito não abrange o componente coercitivo. Em The Force of Law é exposto que a coerção é o único componente do Direito usado até mesmo pelas (...)
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  11. Why the law is what it ought to be.T. R. S. Allan - 2020 - Jurisprudence 11 (4):574-596.
    When legal practice satisfies certain modest conditions of legitimacy, affirming the equal dignity of persons, the law is what it ought to be. It provides the morally appropriate basis for the reso...
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  12. The Political Literacy of Experts.Andreas Eriksen - 2020 - Ratio Juris 33 (1):82-97.
  13. Legality’s Law’s Empire.Nevin Johnson - 2020 - Law and Philosophy 39 (3):325-349.
    Scott Shapiro’s Legality argues the positivist Planning Theory of law meets the anti-positivist challenge posed by the argument from theoretical disagreements about law in Ronald Dworkin’s Law’s Empire. Legality equates theoretical disagreements with what Shapiro calls meta-interpretive disagreements, and then offers a legal theory of meta-interpretation that purportedly accounts for the existence of meta-interpretive disagreements by showing how it is rational or intelligible for legal actors to have such disagreements. This paper argues Legality misconstrues Law’s Empire. The true challenge of (...)
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  14. A new interpretivist metasemantics for fundamental legal disagreements.François Schroeter, Laura Schroeter & Kevin Toh - 2020 - Legal Theory 26 (1):62-99.
    ABSTRACTWhat does it take for lawyers and others to think or talk about the same legal topic—e.g., defamation, culpability? We argue that people are able to think or talk about the same topic not when they possess a matching substantive understanding of the topic, as traditional metasemantics says, but instead when their thoughts or utterances are related to each other in certain ways. And what determines the content of thoughts and utterances is what would best serve the core purposes of (...)
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  15. Law and Violence: Chirstoph Menke in dialogue.Christoph Menke - 2018 - Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
    A interlocution containing a stimulating lead essay on the relationship between law and violence by one of the key third-generation Frankfurt School philosophers, Christoph Menke, and engaged responses by a variety of influential critics.
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  16. Problem aktywizmu i prawotwórstwa sędziowskiego w świetle współczesnych teorii interpretacji.Michał Wieczorkowski - 2018 - Warsaw University Law Review 17 (2):169-200.
    It causes many difficulties for jurisprudence to define the notion of judicial activism. At the very beginning it had rather a journalistic character, but but over time it has become a serious charge against these judges who act on the basis of their vision of what the law ought to be like rather than what it actually is like. On the ground of the polish legal theory the echoes of the dispute about judicial activism are reflected in the discussions about (...)
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  17. Der Fluch des Verfahrens: Karl Kraus und die Akten zum Fall Kerr.Katrin Trüstedt - 2016 - Modern Language Notes 131 (3): 701–23.
  18. The Social Impact Theory of Law.Keton Joshua - 2015 - Phenomenology and Mind 9:130-137.
    Margaret Gilbert’s work on sociality covers a wide range of topics, and as she puts it “addresses matters of great significance to several philosophical specialties – including ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of science, and philosophy of law – and outside philosophy as well” (Gilbert 2013, p. 1). Herein I argue that Mark Greenberg’s recent call to eliminate the problem of legal normativity is well motivated. Further, I argue that Gilbert’s work on joint commitment, and more specifically obligations of joint (...)
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  19. What Makes Law: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law.Liam B. Murphy - 2014 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
    This book offers an advanced introduction to central questions in legal philosophy. What factors determine the content of the law in force? What makes a normative system a legal system? How does law beyond the state differ from domestic law? What kind of moral force does law have? The most important existing views are introduced, but the aim is not to survey the existing literature. Rather, this book introduces the subject by stepping back from the fray to sketch the big (...)
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  20. Dworkin and Phenomenology of the “Pre‐Legal”?Dean Goorden - 2012 - Ratio Juris 25 (3):393-408.
    Ronald Dworkin states in his preface to “Law's Empire” that he is doing a phenomenology of law. In regards to a phenomenology of law, I wish to investigate Dworkin's theory of law, and subsequently, what is left out in order for it to be considered a phenomenological account. In doing so, I will compare Dworkin's phenomenology of law to Schütz's phenomenology of the social world. The comparison between the two will illuminate what I believe is necessary for law, and that (...)
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  21. The Paradoxical Evolution of Law.L. Ali Khan - 2012 - Lewis and Clark Law Review 16 (1):337-361.
    This Essay presents law’s evolution as a paradoxical union of the finite and the infinite. At any given point in time, law is a finite body of norms, which can be identified. At the same time, law’s evolution is infinite because rule-mutations that alter those norms are indeterminable. In modern legal systems, law’s evolution occurs under the constraining influence of master texts, which provide normative durability by enshrining the fundamental norms of a legal system and fortifying them against change. Despite (...)
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  22. A Critical Examination of Jiri Priban's "Doing What Comes Naturally, or a Walk on the Wild Side? Stanlet Fish's Antifoundationalist Concept of Law, It's Closure and Force".Ross Motabhoy - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Kent
  23. John Austin and Constructing Theories of Law.Brian Bix - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 24 (2):431-440.
    One of the standard criticisms of John Austin’s work is that his portrayal of law, as essentially the command of a sovereign to its subjects, does not fit well with the way law is practiced or perceived by lawyers, judges, and citizens; and since the theory “fails to fit the facts,” Austin’s theory must be rejected in favor of later theories that have better fit. Many influential modern approaches to the nature of law, including Joseph Raz’s exclusive legal positivism and (...)
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  24. Law is not (best considered) an essentially contested concept.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2011 - International Journal of Law in Context 7:209-232.
    I argue that law is not best considered an essentially contested concept. After first explaining the notion of essential contestability and disaggregating the concept of law into several related concepts, I show that the most basic and general concept of law does not fit within the criteria generally offered for essential contestation. I then buttress this claim with the additional explanation that essential contestation is itself a framework for understanding complex concepts and therefore should only be applied when it is (...)
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  25. The Nine Lives of Legal Interpretation.Bruce Anderson - 2010 - Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis 5:30-36.
    Legal scholars talk and write about interpretation in terms of the meaningof words, and for many legal philosophers legal interpretation involvessubsuming particular situations under general rules. However, the more youexamine legal interpretation the more confusing the whole idea ofinterpretation becomes. The aim of this paper is to use Bernard Lonergan'sdiscussion of functional specialization to make sense of this disorderlystate of affairs.
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  26. Law and justice in community.Garrett Barden - 2010 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by Tim Murphy.
    Introduction: the grey goose -- The origins of civil society and the function of law -- Justice, ownership, and law -- Natural justice and conventional justice -- Justice and the trading order -- Adjudication and interpretation -- Morality, law, and legislation -- Natural law -- Rights -- The force of law -- The authority and legitimacy of law -- Conclusion.
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  27. Hypothetical Intentionalism in Statutory Interpretation.Mark Alfano - 2009 - US-China Law Review 6 (12):54-58.
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  28. Law, Justice and Integrity: The Paradox of Wicked Laws.T. R. S. Allan - 2009 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 29 (4):705-728.
    Ronald Dworkin's theory of law forges a close connection between questions about the truth of propositions of law and the question of political obligation: law as integrity is a theory of legal practice that purports to explain, not only how the content of law is determined, but also why the law—in ordinary cases—imposes an obligation of obedience. The theory (as presented) is ultimately incoherent. If we accept Dworkin's theory of the grounds of law we are obliged to reject his claims (...)
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  29. Archimedean metaethics defended.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2008 - Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):508-529.
    Abstract: We sometimes say our moral claims are "objectively true," or are "right, even if nobody believes it." These additional claims are often taken to be staking out metaethical positions, representative of a certain kind of theorizing about morality that "steps outside" the practice in order to comment on its status. Ronald Dworkin has argued that skepticism about these claims so understood is not tenable because it is impossible to step outside such practices. I show that externally skeptical metaethical theory (...)
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  30. Arthur Kaufmann – hermeneutyka prawnicza [Arthur Kaufmann – Legal Hermeneutics].Marek Piechowiak - 2008 - In Jerzy Zajadło (ed.), Przyszłość dziedzictwa. Robert Alexy, Ralf Dreier, Jürgen Habermas, Otfried Höffe, Arthur Kaufmann, Niklas Luhmann, Otta Weinberger: portrety filozofów prawa. Arche. pp. 135-167.
    Arthura Kaufmanna filozofia prawa wyrasta przede wszystkim z neokantyzmu aksjologicznego reprezentowanego przez „późnego” Gustava Radbrucha, którego uważał on za najważniejszego ze swych nauczycieli, oraz z hermeneutyki filozoficznej Hansa-Georga Gadamera. W późniejszym okresie znaczący wpływ na Kaufmanna wywarł Charles S. Peirce, którego pracami posiłkował się opracowując problematykę analogii (wiążąc ją z opracowanym przez Pierca zagadnieniem abdukcji) oraz ontologii relacji. Niektóre wątki poglądów Kaufmanna nawiązują do egzystencjalizmu Karla Jaspersa oraz antropologii Karla Löwitha. Obecne są także inspiracje tomistyczne i arystotelesowskie. Jest to filozofia (...)
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  31. Between natural law and legal positivism: Dworkin and Hegel on legal theory.Thom Brooks - 2007 - Georgia State University Law Review 23 (3):513-60.
    In this article, I argue that - despite the absence of any clear influence of one theory on the other - the legal theories of Dworkin and Hegel share several similar and, at times, unique positions that join them together within a distinctive school of legal theory, sharing a middle position between natural law and legal positivism. In addition, each theory can help the other in addressing certain internal difficulties. By recognizing both Hegel and Dworkin as proponents of a position (...)
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  32. Justice in robes.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 2006 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press.
    In the course of that critical study he discusses the work of many of the most influential lawyers and philosophers of the era, including Isaiah Berlin, Richard ...
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  33. Hegel’s Ambiguous Contribution to Legal Theory.Thom Brooks - 2005 - Res Publica 11 (1):85-94.
    Hegel's legacy is particularly controversial, not least in legal theory. He has been classified as a proponent of either natural law, legal positivism, the historical school, pre-Marxism, postmodern critical theory, and even transcendental legal theory. To what degree has Hegel actually influenced contemporary legal theorists? This review article looks at Michael Salter's collection Hegel and Law. I look at articles on civil disobedience, contract law, feminism, and punishment. I conclude noting similarities between Hegel's legal theory and that of Ronald Dworkin. (...)
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  34. Justice As Integrity: Objectivity And Social Meaning In Legal Theory.David Fagelson - 2002 - Social and Legal Studies 11 (4):569-588.
  35. Is All Judicial Decision-Making Unavoidably Interpretive?Brian E. Butler - 2001 - Legal Studies Forum (3&4):315-329.
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  36. Are there any rules?Timothy Endicott - 2001 - The Journal of Ethics 5 (3):199-219.
    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. 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 (...)
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  37. D. Neil MacCormick and Robert S. Summers (eds.) Interpreting precedents: A comparative study. [REVIEW]Michael Aikenhead - 2000 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 8 (2-3):283-288.
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  38. Posner's Problem with Moral Philosophy.Brian E. Butler - 2000 - The University of Chicago Law School Roundtable 7:325-343.
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  39. The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New Opinions.Peter Suber - 1998 - New York: Routledge.
    _The Case of the Speluncean Explorers, _written in 1949 by Lon Fuller, is the most famous fictitious legal case of all time. Describing a case of trapped travellers who are forcd to cannibalize one of their team, it is used on courses in philosophy of law and Jurisprudence to show how their trial upon rescue touches on key concepts in philosophy and legal theory such as utilitarianism and naturalism. _The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New opinions_ includes a reprint (...)
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  40. An Evaluation of Ronald Dworkin's Hermeneutical Theory of Law.Paolo Giuseppe Annino - 1997 - Dissertation, Fordham University
    The goal of this dissertation is to explore and evaluate Ronald Dworkin's hermeneutical theory of law. I argue that Dworkin 's theory of law is a "hermeneutical theory." I justify my classification and show how Dworkin's theory fits in the contemporary debates in hermeneutics and how it contributes to these debates. I relate Dworkin's hermeneutical theory to the works of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jurgen Habermas. ;I thematize the dialogical and reconstructive nature of Dworkin's hermeneutical theory, and I argue that Dworkin's (...)
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  41. Invisible Author of Legal Authority.William E. Conklin - 1996 - Law and Critique 7 (2):173-192.
    The thrust of this paper addresses how the notion of an author relates to the authority of a law. Drawing from the legal thought of Hobbes, Bentham, and John Austin, the Paper offers a sense of the author as a distinct institutional source of the state. The Paper then addresses the more difficult legal theories in this context: those of HLA Hart, Ronald Dworkin and Hans Kelsen. The clue to the latter as well as the earlier theorists is a presupposed (...)
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  42. Law's Meaning.Brian Slattery - 1996 - Osgoode Hall Law Journal 34:553-81.
    It is often thought that the meaning of a legal provision must reside in the minds of its authors or its interpreters, or a combination of the two. Indeed, the point may seem so obvious that it scarcely needs any justification. Is there any sense, then, in the claim sometimes made by judges that a law has a meaning of its own, one that is distinct from the intentions of authors and interpreters alike? At first sight, the claim appears extravagant (...)
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  43. Striking back at the empire: A brief survey of problems in Dworkin's theory of law. [REVIEW]Larry Alexander - 1987 - Law and Philosophy 6 (3):419 - 438.
    In Law's Empire Dworkin remains committed to carving out a middleground between natural law and legal positivism. But natural law andlegal positivism are best viewed as complementary answers to differ-ent questions, There is no middle ground between them. Nor is thequestion that Dworkin's Integrity asks one that could be coherentlyanswered i f it were an important question. Fortunately, it is not.
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  44. Discretion and Dispositive Concepts.Barbara Baum Levenbook - 1981 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (4):613 - 631.
    In this essay, I argue against a way of approaching the issue of Judicial discretion that finds its clearest exposition and highest development in recent works by Ronald Dworkin. This approach is too narrow. It ignores a kind of Judicial discretion whose existence has been maintained by jurists with discretionist sympathies, and which is philosophically significant. The kind of discretion it ignores raises the issue of the justification of adjudication as clearly as does the kind of discretion that it recognizes. (...)
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  45. D-theories, Discretion, and the Justification of Adjudication.Barbara Baum Levenbook - 1980 - Social Theory and Practice 5 (3-4):331-345.
    This essay challenges Dworkin's account of the virtues and consistency of applying the right answer as given by a certain interpretive theory of local law (hereafter, the D-theory) with democratic theory. D-theory adjudication does not have all the virtues Dworkin claims for it. It may involve judicial law-creation as well, rather than being confined to the discovery of preexisting legal rights. It may also involve any of the morally objectionable features of judicial law-creation, including unfairness. It is not immune to (...)
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  46. Taking rights seriously.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 1977 - London: Duckworth.
    This is the first publication of these ideas in book form. 'It is a rare treat--important, original philosophy that is also a pleasure to read.
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  47. Hermeneutical Outlines in and of Dante’s Legal Theory.Cavinato Francesco - manuscript
    Based upon the concept of Law qualified in Monarchia, II.50, Dante was not only a general philosopher (a lover of knowledge) as well as a political disputant in his times, but also his primary contribution (not always obvious) in legal speculation could be demonstrated. In fact, if his thought reflected the platonic ordo sapientiae through a deep intersection between téchne and episteme (phronesis) toward a linguistic koiné, could we say the same thing on his concept of justice as a rational (...)
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