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Hrafn Asgeirsson
University of Surrey
  1. The Nature and Value of Vagueness in the Law.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2020 - Oxford: Hart Publishing.
    Sample chapter from H. Asgeirsson, The Nature and Value of Vagueness in the Law (Hart Publishing, 2020), in which I present and partially defend a version of what has come to be called the communicative-content theory of law. Book abstract: Lawmaking is – paradigmatically – a type of speech act: people make law by saying things. It is natural to think, therefore, that the content of the law is determined by what lawmakers communicate. However, what they communicate is sometimes vague (...)
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  2. The Sorites Paradox in Practical Philosophy.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2019 - In Sergi Oms & Elia Zardini (eds.), The Sorites Paradox. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 229–245.
    The first part of the chapter surveys some of the main ways in which the Sorites Paradox has figured in arguments in practical philosophy in recent decades, with special attention to arguments where the paradox is used as a basis for criticism. Not coincidentally, the relevant arguments all involve the transitivity of value in some way. The second part of the chapter is more probative, focusing on two main themes. First, I further address the relationship between the Sorites Paradox and (...)
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  3.  99
    On the Instrumental Value of Vagueness in the Law.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2015 - Ethics 125 (2):425-448.
    It is natural to think that law ought not to be vague. After all, law is supposed to guide conduct, and vague law seems poorly suited to do that. Contrary to this common impression, however, a number of authors have argued that vagueness in the law is sometimes a good thing, because it is a means to achieving certain valuable legislative ends. In this article, I argue that many authors—including Timothy Endicott and Jeremy Waldron—wrongly associate vagueness with instrumental roles that (...)
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    Vagueness and Power-Delegation in Law: A Reply to Sorensen.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2013 - In Michael Freeman & Fiona Smith (eds.), Current Legal Issues: Law and Language. Oxford University Press.
    Roy Sorensen has argued that vagueness in the law cannot be justified by appeal to the value of power-delegation, and thereby threatens to take away one of the main reasons for thinking that vagueness can be valuable to law. Delegation of power to officials is justified, he thinks, only if these officials are in a better position to discover whether a particular x is F, a condition not satisfied in cases of vagueness. I argue that Sorensen’s argument is unsound: delegation (...)
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    A Puzzle About Vagueness, Reasons, and Judicial Discretion.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2022 - Legal Theory 28 (3):210-234.
    The following two theses seem both plausible and consistent: in cases where it is indeterminate whether the relevant legal language applies to the relevant set of facts, officials are not bound to decide the case one way rather than the other, but may reason either way; all reasons for action are—in some relevant sense—knowable. In this paper, I point out what I take to be a robust but unacknowledged tension between these two claims. The tension requires some careful teasing out, (...)
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  6.  34
    Vagueness, Comparative Value, and the "Lawmakers' Challenge".Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2012 - Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 98 (3):299-316.
    In "The Value of Vagueness," Timothy Endicott argues that vague law can be better than precise law. I think he is in many respects correct, but will suggest that we modify and supplement his framework in order to get a firmer grip on what I call the Lawmakers' Challenge: the scenario in which lawmakers find themselves when they must determine whether the consequences of precision are worse than the consequences of vagueness. This will allow us to identify several points of (...)
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