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Can We Please Stop Doing This? By the Way, Postema Was Right

Patterson, Dennis (2016) Can We Please Stop Doing This? By the Way, Postema Was Right In: Metaphilosophy of Law. Hart Publishing. ISBN 9781509906079

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Abstract

While legal philosophy has its own unique set of questions and problems, one activity it shares with many other areas of philosophy is the urge to find the essence of 'law'. Whether expressed as 'essence', 'necessary and sufficient' or 'nature', the enterprise is finding the features of law that set it apart from other normative phenomena. Many philosophers have abandoned the search for the essential features of many things. The conventional wisdom now seems to be (roughly) that the world divides into natural kinds and other (social or artefactual) kinds. Legal philosophers have not given up the search for the essence of law. In this way, they are rather different from philosophers in many other areas of the discipline. In this chapter, I will consider three attempts to identify the essence or nature of law. I will argue that each attempt fails for different reasons. If these attempts to identify the essence of law fail, what are we to make of these failures? Are they simply three different failed attempts or do they indicate something more? I will then consider Gerald Postema's effort to point to a different way of thinking about law and what legal philosophers ought to be doing when we do jurisprudence. Postema's work is a model of how to do legal theory: it is methodologically sophisticated and it solves problems not otherwise amenable to resolution.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Law
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Patterson, Dennisd.patterson@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Date : 6 October 2016
Depositing User : Karen Garland
Date Deposited : 27 Nov 2017 15:04
Last Modified : 27 Nov 2017 15:04
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/845045

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