Saturday, April 29, 2006

Justice in Robes

Being used to the intellecutal confines of the sub-Alpine beauty, it is really a reward to spend a Saturday morning at Ronald Dworkin's lecture. One of the greatest legal philosophers of our era stopped at the European University Institute, Florence, to interact with law professors and researchers in the field of legal theory and to - indirectly - present his most recent book: Justice in Robes.

For those interested in legal theory this is certainly a must read. Especially, since Dworkin has (slightly) reviewed his points made in the past and clarified some of his positions. The house of law that he has built now stands on four pillars: four distinct concepts of law: doctrinal, sociological, taxonomix and aspirational. This distinction enables Dworkin to once again show the weakness of the alleged neutrality thesis of legal positivists. If there is a genuine dispute between the two schools, then they have to use the same, i.e. doctrinal concept of law (unless they just talk past each other and there is no dispute), and since the doctrinal concept of law is an interpretive concept, positivism is just one interpretation of it - i.e. another exercise in political morality.... Indeed, this poses another, refurbished and fresh challenge to the so called Archimedeans.

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