Philosophical Studies 179 (2):633-653 (2022)

Samuele Chilovi
University of California, Los Angeles
Daniel Wodak
University of Pennsylvania
Hume’s Law that one cannot derive an “ought” from an “is” has often been deemed to bear a significance that extends far beyond logic. Repeatedly, it has been invoked as posing a serious threat to views about normativity: naturalism in metaethics and positivism in jurisprudence. Yet in recent years, a puzzling asymmetry has emerged: while the view that Hume’s Law threatens naturalism has largely been abandoned (due mostly to Pigden’s work, see e.g. Pigden 1989), the thought that Hume’s Law is a serious challenge to positivism has only grown in prominence. Our main aim is to establish that Hume’s Law is not a threat to positivism or naturalism. First, we connect extensive, but unfortunately siloed, discussions of this issue. Second, we show that Hume’s Law is not a serious threat to naturalism or positivism, for the gap between logic and such theses is very hard to bridge in a way that would make Hume’s Law able to bear this significance. Finally, we emphasize an implication of our discussion: it undermines one of the main “dialectical tributaries” in jurisprudence (Toh 2018).
Keywords Hume's Law  Legal positivism  Metaethical naturalism  Metaphysical grounding
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1007/s11098-021-01674-5
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References found in this work BETA

Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Law’s Empire.Ronald Dworkin - 1986 - Harvard University Press.

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