Law's Empire

ISBN-10: 0674518365
ISBN-13: 9780674518360
Edition: 1986
List price: $37.00
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Description: With the incisiveness and lucid style for which he is renowned, Ronald Dworkin has written a masterful explanation of how the Anglo-American legal system works and on what principles it is grounded. Law's Empire is a full-length presentation of his  More...

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Book details

List price: $37.00
Copyright year: 1986
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 1/1/1988
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 488
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.518
Language: English

With the incisiveness and lucid style for which he is renowned, Ronald Dworkin has written a masterful explanation of how the Anglo-American legal system works and on what principles it is grounded. Law's Empire is a full-length presentation of his theory of law that will be studied and debated--by scholars and theorists, by lawyers and judges, by students and political activists--for years to come. Dworkin begins with the question that is at the heart of the whole legal system: in difficult cases how do (and how should) judges decide what the law is? He shows that judges must decide hard cases by interpreting rather than simply applying past legal decisions, and he produces a general theory of what interpretation is--in literature as well as in law--and of when one interpretation is better than others. Every legal interpretation reflects an underlying theory about the general character of law: Dworkin assesses three such theories. One, which has been very influential, takes the law of a community to be only what the established conventions of that community say it is. Another, currently in vogue, assumes that legal practice is best understood as an instrument of society to achieve its goals. Dworkin argues forcefully and persuasively against both these views: he insists that the most fundamental point of law is not to report consensus or provide efficient means to social goals, but to answer the requirement that a political community act in a coherent and principled manner toward all its members. He discusses, in the light of that view, cases at common law, cases arising under statutes, and great constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, and he systematically demonstrates that his concept of political and legal integrity is the key to Anglo-American legal theory and practice.

Ronald Dworkin was Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University.

What Is Law?
Why It Matters
Disagreement about Law
The Plain-Fact View
A Threshold Objection
The Real World
Semantic Theories of Law
The Real Argument for Semantic Theories
Interpretive Concepts
The Semantic Sting
An Imaginary Example
A First Look at Interpretation
Interpretation and Author's Intention
Art and the Nature of Intention
Intentions and Practices
Stages of Interpretation
Philosophers of Courtesy
A Digression: Justice
Skepticism about Interpretation
Jurisprudence Revisited
A New Picture
Concepts and Conceptions of Law
Skeptical Conceptions and Wicked Law
Grounds and Force of Law
Its Structure
Its Appeal
Legal Conventions
Two Kinds of Conventionalism
Does Conventionalism Fit Our Practice?
Does Conventionalism Justify Our Practice?
Pragmatism and Personification
A Skeptical Conception
Does Pragmatism Fit?
Law without Rights
The Claims of Integrity
Community Personified
Does Integrity Fit?
Is Integrity Attractive?
The Puzzle of Legitimacy
Obligations of Community
Fraternity and Political Community
Untidy Endnotes
Integrity in Law
A Large View
The Chain of Law
Law: The Question of Emotional Damages
A Provisional Summary
Some Familiar Objections
Skepticism in Law
The Common Law
The Economic Interpretation
The Question of Justice
The Utilitarian Duty
The Egalitarian Interpretation
Equality and Comparative Cost
Private People and Public Bodies
Legislative Intention
Speaker's Meaning Convictions
Hercules' Method
Legislative History
Statutes over Time
When Is the Language Clear?
The Constitution
Is Constitutional Law Built on a Mistake?
Liberals and Conservatives
Passivism Hercules on Olympus
Theories of Racial Equality
Deciding Brown
Deciding Bakke
Is Hercules a Tyrant?
Law Beyond Law
Law Works Itself Pure
Law's Dreams
Epilogue: What Is Law?

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