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Taking Rights Seriously Fifth Printing Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674867116
ISBN-10: 0674867114
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The most important work in jurisprudence since H.L.A. Hart's The Concept of Law and, from a philosophical point of view at least, the most sophisticated contribution to that subject yet made by an American writer… Dworkin's essays are brilliantly written… [T]he book is remarkable in its unity and technical assurance. (New York Review of Books)

It is a rare treat―important, original philosophy that is also a pleasure to read. Dworkin argues vigorously, imaginatively and elegantly. (Yale Law Review)

In a series of beautifully written, mutually supportive essays, Dworkin applies the theory of rights or his own version of the theory to the case of judicial decision-making. (The New Republic)

The most significant book oil philosophy of law in this decade and surely one of the more interesting ones of the century. (Ethics)

Dworkin's writing launches a frontal attack on the two concepts, utilitarianism and legal positivism, that have dominated Anglo-American jurisprudence in the 20th century… Dworkin's theories have created shock waves among jurisprudential scholars. (Time)

From the Back Cover

'It is a rare treat--important, original philosophy that is also a pleasure to read. Dworkin argues vigorously, imaginatively, and elegantly.' -- 'The Yale Law Review'
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Fifth Printing edition (November 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674867114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674867116
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Arnold VINE VOICE on February 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Unlike a lot of the scholarship out their debating standards for judicial review, Dworkin's work is both moderate, clearly argued, and intellectually compelling. He argues that many constitutional rights and clauses have strong moral components to them, and as such it is these moral principles judges should interpret. This is in contrast to originalism, which tries to enforce the policy preferences of the founders, not just the concepts they left us with. However, Dworkin also states it might contradict some liberal excesses, particularly judges who substitute their own policy preferences in for faithfulness to the constitution. Throughout, Dworkin is clear in his assumptions, direct in his writing, and tries to engage the reader in a serious conversation (rather than speaking over the readers' heads). I'm not sure I personally would go as far as Dworkin, or even agree with him, but it's nice to finally see a strong argument in defense of a liberal theory of constitutional interpretation.
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Format: Paperback
Things are quite simple. If there is A contemporary debate in jurisprudence, it is the so-called Hart/Dworkin debate. It all starts with this wonderful book that cuts deeply and challenges the theory of legal positivism on many levels. As for the theory of rights, Dworkin is a proponent of one of the most coherent, interesting and complex articulations of liberalism. In short: to the extent that fundamental rights are in play, the "political majority" (if such a thing exists) does not have the moral right to tell members of the minority what to do with their own lives. Is not this a simple but powerful moral truth?
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This is a great book for a chemical engineer that would like to understand Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, the self-appointed god of dignity. However, so far, I do not see any justification for trying to manage dignity.
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Format: Paperback
There are harder works to read in jurisprudence. Ronald Dworkin's book is a modern classic, and it is thought provoking and a great introduction to many of the topics in the field. It's good.

My concern is that he uses a good bit of the book to bash H.L.A. Hart's theory of law. Fine. That COULD have been a useful way to present ideas, but instead Mr. Dworkin provides a very thin strawman of Hart's real argument. And, then, predictably bashes it for its weakness!

So it goes. Dworkin can be a powerful writer, and the book is worth knowing and worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
This edition appears to be a word-processed, repaginated OCR scanning of the text of a previous edition. As such, it contains glitches throughout. The second and third sentences at the top of page 48 are incomprehensible garbage. Throughout, reference is made in the text to section numbers and letters that have been deleted from this edition. One of few footnotes I looked at gave an incorrect page reference. There are typographical errors throughout, some of which are typical of OCR books, such as hyphens in the middles of words that aren't hyphenated. If it weren't so cheap, I would recommend against buying it. The book is strong enough that it is still worth the read.
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This book gives great arguments on how our rights should be valued in our legal system and how they can be argued. I would recommend however that he fire his editor, there seems like there should be more to the book and a lot more arguments could be made from this book. I would still recommend this book for any theory law class, constitutional, philosophical or just as a good read for anyone who likes the discussion of peoples rights.
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The most cogent and coherent statement of liberal jurisprudence and philosophy. A must read for every lawyer, judge and lawmaker.
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