Even to disagree, we need to understand each other. What is it that we need to agree about, in order for disagreement to be possible? Ronald Dworkin argued that H.L.A.Hart had a ‘criterial semantic theory’, holding that we agree on criteria for the application of words, and making it impossible for Hart to explain disagreement about the content of the law. I argue that Hart did not have a criterial semantic theory, and that his theory can make sense of (...) genuine theoretical disagreement. In Hart’s view, we agree on paradigms and to some extent on how to use them, and the resulting disagreements can be deep. A sound theory should reject criterial semantics, but should also reject two distinctive claims of Dworkin’s book, Law’s Empire: that no paradigm of an abstract concept is secure from the interpretive process, and that abstract words are not vague. (shrink)
In Legality Scott Shapiro seeks to provide the motivation for the development of his own elaborate account of law by undertaking a critique of H.L.A. Hart's jurisprudential theory. Hart maintained that every legal system is underlain by a rule of recognition through which officials of the system identify the norms that belong to the system as laws. Shapiro argues that Hart's remarks on the rule of recognition are confused and that his model of lawis consequently untenable. Shapiro contends that a (...) new approach is vital for progress in the philosophy of law and, with his lengthy presentation of his own Planning Theory of Law, he aspires to pioneer just such an approach. Except for a very terse observation in the final main section, this article does not directly assess the strengths and shortcomings of Shapiro's piquant planning theory. Instead, I defend Hart against Shapiro's charges and thereby undermine the motivation for the development of the planning theory. (shrink)
Ronald Preston defended the middle axiom approach to doing Christian social ethics developed by J. H. Oldham for the 1937 ‘Life and Work’ conference. Preston argued that middle axioms continue to offer the churches a relevant ecumenical method. Middle axions has since been subject to fundamental criticism by ethicists such as Duncan Forrester. It will be argued that a case study of the Church of Scotland's contribution to the devolution debate, as part of Scottish civil society, supports Preston's defence (...) of the middle axiom approach as a relevant form of political engagement in the new context of local-global politics. (shrink)
It seems certain that one day we will allow the genetic technology which will enhance our offspring. A highly effective new tool, called CRISPR, which allows for carving out genes, is already being used to edit the genomes of animals. In July 2017, the FDA legalized that germline drugs for therapeutic purposes could be sold in the market. It is a high time, now, that we need engage in discussions about the ethics of germline intervention. To contribute to the discussion (...) by showing our thought and to educate the public, we write this paper. (shrink)
This is a collection of essays on themes of legal philosophy which have all been generated or affected by Hart's work. The topics covered include legal theory, responsibility, and enforcement of morals, with contributions from Ronald Dworkin, Rolf Sartorius, Neil MacCormach, David Lyons, Kent Greenawalt, Michael Moore, Joseph Raz, and C.L. Ten, among others.
Ronald Preston wrote little of feminism, and feminism appears to have ignored Preston. There is much, however, in Preston's work which feminists would have found sympathetic, as well as some areas for acute disagreement. This article discusses what Preston did write about feminism, and goes on to examine areas of common approach: the hermeneutic of suspicion, social ethics, and a priori commitments. It also, briefly, discusses areas of disagreement: common consensus, universalism, and eschatological realism. It ends with the question (...) of why Preston did not engage more fully with the radical changes in the position of women which occurred during his lifetime. (shrink)
This book explores aspects of William H. Poteat’s philosophical anthropology, which proposes a post-critical alternative to the prevailing dualistic conception of the person and opens a path to recovery of the pre-reflective ontological ground of the person where our personhood can be recovered and re-appropriated.
The Concept of Law is the most important and original work of legal philosophy written this century. First published in 1961, it is considered the masterpiece of H.L.A. Hart's enormous contribution to the study of jurisprudence and legal philosophy. Its elegant language and balanced arguments have sparked wide debate and unprecedented growth in the quantity and quality of scholarship in this area--much of it devoted to attacking or defending Hart's theories. Principal among Hart's critics is renowned lawyer and political philosopher (...)Ronald Dworkin who in the 1970s and 80s mounted a series of challenges to Hart's Concept of Law. It seemed that Hart let these challenges go unanswered until, after his death in 1992, his answer to Dworkin's criticism was discovered among his papers. In this valuable and long-awaited new edition Hart presents an Epilogue in which he answers Dworkin and some of his other most influential critics including Fuller and Finnis. Written with the same clarity and candor for which the first edition is famous, the Epilogue offers a sharper interpretation of Hart's own views, rebuffs the arguments of critics like Dworkin, and powerfully asserts that they have based their criticisms on a faulty understanding of Hart's work. Hart demonstrates that Dworkin's views are in fact strikingly similar to his own. In a final analysis, Hart's response leaves Dworkin's criticisms considerably weakened and his positions largely in question. Containing Hart's final and powerful response to Dworkin in addition to the revised text of the original Concept of Law, this thought-provoking and persuasively argued volume is essential reading for lawyers and philosophers throughout the world. (shrink)