Though the “internal point of view” is perhaps H.L.A. Hart’s greatestcontribution to legal theory, this concept is also often and easily misunderstood. This is unfortunate, not only because these misreadings distort Hart’s theory, but, more importantly, because they prevent us from appreciating the infirmities of sanction-centered theories of law and the compelling reasons why they ought to be rejected. In this paper, I try to address some of these confusions. What, exactly, is the internal point of view? What role (or roles) does it play in Hart’s theory? And how does an adequate appreciation for the centrality of the internal point of view lead to the rejection of sanction-centered theories?
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