18 February, 18h.
FCSH-UNL, ID Building, room 1.05 (1st floor)
In this paper I discuss two versions of Ronald Dworkin’s objection from theoretical disagreement. I start with Dworkin’s argument, in Law’s Empire, against what he calls ‘the “plain-fact” view of the grounds of law’. Dworkin’s argument is sound; but the plain-fact view, which Dworkin misattributes to HLA Hart, is a straw man. Indeed, Dworkin’s argument relies on a distinction that Hart pioneered and the plain-fact view denies: the distinction between ‘internal’, normative statements of law, and ‘external’, factual statements about law. That is my claim in Part I. In Parts II and III I turn to a more familiar version of Dworkin’s objection—a version that has been revived in recent literature—and to some attempts to answer it. I argue that this version, too, derives its strength from charging legal positivists with the failure to distinguish between external and internal statements. Unfortunately, many theorists are guilty as charged.
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