Comments on coherence theory in the philosophy of law

Abstract

Coherentism, in philosophy generally, is of either an epistemological or a metaphysical type. The epistemological type responds to worries about foundationalism that have no serious counterpart within the philosophy of law. The metaphysical type is implausible generally, but has been put to use within the philosophy of law - by Ronald Dworkin in particular - to close up "gaps" in the law that provide an opening for purportedly worrisome exercises of judicial discretion. These remarks conclude with the suggestion that the conception of political legitimacy that underlies such worries is crude and unwarranted.

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William A. Edmundson
Georgia State University

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