Hart versus Dworkin, Europe versus America

Richard A. Posner

in Law and Legal Theory in England and America

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780198264712
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682773 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Law Lectures

Hart versus Dworkin, Europe versus America

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In some settings it is feasible and even necessary to define ‘law’, for instance, where the word appears in a statute. The question ‘What is law’?, when posed in a class in jurisprudence or in a book or article on jurisprudence is, in contrast, acontextual. This lecture tries to define ‘law’, comparing the work of the two most prominent writers on jurisprudence in the second half of 20th century: H. L. A. Hart and Ronald Dworkin. It concludes that trying to define ‘law’ is futile, distracting, and illustrative of the impoverishment of traditional legal theory.

Keywords: H. L. A. Hart; Ronald Dworkin; futility thesis; English legal system; barristers; law

Chapter.  15052 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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