The Model of Plans and the Prospects for Positivism

Ethics 125 (1):152-181 (2014)


In Legality, Scott Shapiro builds his case for legal positivism on a simple premise: laws are plans. Recognition of that fact leads to legal positivism, Shapiro says, because the content of a plan is fixed by social facts. In this essay, I argue that Shapiro’s case for legal positivism fails. Moreover, I argue that we can learn important lessons about the prospects for positivism by attending to the ways in the argument fails. As I show, the flaws in Shapiro’s argument reveal structural problems with a family of prominent positivist views, including the one defended by Joseph Raz

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Scott Hershovitz
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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On the (in)Significance of Hume’s Law.Samuele Chilovi & Daniel Wodak - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):633-653.
Legality’s Law’s Empire.Nevin Johnson - 2020 - Law and Philosophy 39 (3):325-349.

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