Describing Law

Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 33 (1):85-106 (2020)
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Legal philosophers make a number of bold, contentious claims about the nature of law. For instance, some claim that law necessarily involves coercion, while others disagree. Some claim that all law enjoys presumptive moral validity, while others disagree. We can see these claims in at least three, mutually exclusive ways: (1) We can see them as descriptions of law’s nature (descriptivism), (2) we can see them as expressing non-descriptive attitudes of the legal philosophers in question (expressivism), or (3) we can see them as practical claims about how we should view law or order our society (pragmatism). This paper argues that we should understand these claims in the pragmatist way, as claims about how we should view law or order society.

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Raff Donelson
Illinois Institute of Technology

Citations of this work

Fuller and the Folk: The Inner Morality of Law Revisited.Raff Donelson & Ivar R. Hannikainen - 2020 - In Tania Lombrozo, Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy Volume 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 6-28.
The pragmatist school in analytic jurisprudence.Raff Donelson - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):66-84.
The Rorty-Dworkin Debate.Raff Donelson - 2021 - In Giancarlo Marchetti (ed.), The Ethics, Epistemology and Politics of Richard Rorty. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 50-63.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism.David Enoch - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.

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