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Law's Empire 1st Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674518360
ISBN-10: 0674518365
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this first full-length exposition of his theory of law, Dworkin, who teaches jurisprudence at Oxford University and New York University, maintains that society should ensure for all its members a legal system that functions in a coherent and principled manner. In prose accessible to the lay reader, he discusses at length several views of American constitutional law such as "passivism" and "framers' intention." Rejecting both conventionalism and pragmatism, he advocates law as integrity which holds that propositions of law are true if they derive from justice, fairness and procedural due process in accordance with the community's legal practice. Citing examples, he further argues that law should be more than a collection of formal guidelines and that it should uphold more abstract moral principles, distinguishing between issues of policy and matters of principle affecting rights of the individual. Uniting jurisprudence with adjudication, Dworkin sees each judge as a link in a chain of law of which his or her judgment becomes a part.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Dworkin (Jurisprudence, Oxford; and Law, NYU) sets out a theory of how judges determine what the law is and its application in hard cases where no set tled or clear rule of law disposes of a matter, testing his theory in common law cases turning on statutes and con stitutional cases. He posits that propo sitions of law are correctly established not because they represent a consensus or an efficient means to social goals, but because they answer the require ment that a political community act in a coherent, just, and principled manner toward all of its members. An exceed ingly complex work which echoes cer tain of his previous writings, this vol ume will be of primary interest to scholars with an intense disciplinary in terest. For subject collections. Merlin Whiteman, Dann Pecar Newman Ta lesnick & Kleiman, Indianapolis
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674518365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674518360
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By W. CERCAL on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ronald Dworkin is one of the most prominent law philosophers in the common law tradition. Known both in America and Britain for his strong democratic positions, baptized by Duncan Kennedy `orthodox centrism', Dworkin is an acid critic of the paradigms of the contemporaneous jurisprudence.
Teaching law both in London and New York, the author unites the best of the old and the new world's linguistic and philosophical theories. He is well aware of the main `external' influences of law studies, such as the linguistics of Wittgenstein, the utilitarianism of Austin and Bentham, the categorical imperative of Kant, the dialectical approach of Habermas, and many more epistemic precursors of the modern law science. And from the legal benches he invites to debate scholars as Hart, Nozick, Rawls, etc.
This book follows his theoretical controversies initiated in A Matter of Principle and Taking Rights Seriously. Dworkin has the `humble' objective of deconstructing the base of the legal theory, forging a new conception of law itself. Facing the legal positivism creed (as in Kelsen) with the skeptical panorama (legal realism as in Holmes), this author proposes a third way of law interpretation with he calls `law as integrity'.
Integrity conception of law is inspirited in the third motto of the French Revolution: `fraternity'. Law is seen as a product of a `community of principles', as in the roman adage ubi societas ubi jus. For him any interpretation of the law, the common law or the Constitution must be impregnated with the will of integrity, noted as a commitment with the political morals of a given society in a given time. He sees the Constitution as the repository of the three biggest law principles: adjective due process, fairness and justice.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Dworkin does a fantastic job of explaining how judges decide cases, and in turn shed's light on the subject of how law pertains to the people. He does this by explaining other theories about the law, and then addresses thier flaws in logic. Then, as he develops the concepts and premises that all theorists seem to agree on, offers his his own theory in contrast, and allows the reader a chance to search for any of his own deficiencies.
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62 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is truly foundational: one of the few books of legal philosophy that almost every law student is encouraged to read. Many of its ideas are intriguing and illuminating. But the more deeply you think about it, the emptier it becomes. It is flawed by a failure truly to engage with the arguments it attacks, which are distorted or misrepresented until they seem too silly to be worth attention. Much turns out to be rather empty assertion. Some of the examples Dworkin uses are highly questionable; as a practicing lawyer I have become less and less convinced over the years that Dworkin really knows or understands the practices of adjudication that form the center of his book. He is like a person who, having once or twice visited a doctor and looked at a medical textbook, proposes a unified theory of surgery. Despite grand(iose?) claims, the argument does not deliver what it promises. On the whole, Dworkin's brilliance works much more effectively on a smaller canvas. His essays (especially those in Taking Rights Seriously) are far more convincing than this longer book. They have cut and thrust and dash; in the end, this is rather stodgy, rather worthy, rather smug.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. CERCAL on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ronald Dworkin is one of the most prominent law philosophers in the common law tradition. Known both in America and Britain for his strong democratic positions, baptized by Duncan Kennedy `orthodox centrism', Dworkin is an acid critic of the paradigms of the contemporaneous jurisprudence.
Teaching law both in London and New York, the author unites the best of the old and the new world's linguistic and philosophical theories. He is well aware of the main `external' influences of law studies, such as the linguistics of Wittgenstein, the utilitarianism of Austin and Bentham, the categorical imperative of Kant, the dialectical approach of Habermas, and many more epistemic precursors of the modern law science. And from the legal benches he invites to debate scholars as Hart, Nozick, Rawls, etc.
This book follows his theoretical controversies initiated in A Matter of Principle and Taking Rights Seriously. Dworkin has the `humble' objective of deconstructing the base of the legal theory, forging a new conception of law itself. Facing the legal positivism creed (as in Kelsen) with the skeptical panorama (legal realism as in Holmes), this author proposes a third way of law interpretation with he calls `law as integrity'.
Integrity conception of law is inspirited in the third motto of the French Revolution: `fraternity'. Law is seen as a product of a `community of principles', as in the roman adage ubi societas ubi jus. For him any interpretation of the law, the common law or the Constitution must be impregnated with the will of integrity, noted as a commitment with the political morals of a given society in a given time. He sees the Constitution as the repository of the three biggest law principles: adjective due process, fairness and justice.
Read more ›
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