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