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Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law$
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Wil Waluchow and Stefan Sciaraffa

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675517

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675517.001.0001

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Is There One Right Answer to the Question of the Nature of Law?

Is There One Right Answer to the Question of the Nature of Law?

(p.322) 14 Is There One Right Answer to the Question of the Nature of Law?
Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law

Dan Priel

Oxford University Press

This chapter questions the prevailing view among contemporary legal philosophers that there is one right answer to the question of the nature of law. It does so by examining the foundations of the two legal systems from which most Anglophone legal philosophers hail: the U.S. and Britain. It argues that the fundamental understanding of what law is in these two countries is very different for reasons that have to do with their political history and traditions. This difference helps us explain the respective views of Hart and Dworkin as reflecting these differences in their jurisprudential theories. If this is true, it casts doubt upon the view that jurisprudence should be concerned with elucidating the nature of law, as different political traditions (and by implication, different legal systems) will answer this question differently.

Keywords:   jurisprudence, law, politics, H. L. A. Hart, Ronald Dworkin, Rule of Law, comparative jurisprudence

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